Solicitor: Fan in Paris incident apologizes, denies racism

AP News
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Posted: Feb 22, 2015 6:13 PM

LONDON (AP) — A former policeman is one of the Chelsea fans being sought by officers investigating an alleged racist incident in Paris, his solicitor said Sunday in a statement that apologized to the victim.

Richard Barklie — a former Northern Ireland police officer — denied taking part in any racist chanting but admitted to being involved in the incident where a black man was pushed off a Paris metro train. The incident was captured on video before Chelsea's Champions League match at Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday.

London's Metropolitan Police said Saturday that it had identified three men being sought in connection with the incident as it supports a French police probe.

Barklie's legal team said they have contacted the London force, which "confirmed with us that arrangements were in hand to take the investigation to the next stage."

After the victim, who was identified in French media as Souleymane S, was videoed being forcibly pushed off the train, fans were heard chanting: "We're racist and that's the way we like it."

Barklie, a season ticket holder at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge, does not know any of them other people shown in the Paris video, solicitor Kevin Winters said.

"He did not participate in racist chanting and singing and condemns any behavior supporting that," Winters said. "He accepts he was involved in an incident when a person now known to him as Souleymane S was unable to enter a part of the train.

"He has an account to give to police which will explain the context and circumstances as they prevailed at that particular time. In the meantime pending that, he wants to put on record his sincerest apologies for the trauma and stress suffered by Mr. Souleymane."

Barklie is a director with the World Human Rights Forum, a global organization with offices in Northern Ireland.

"Pending formal engagement with police, our client is anxious to put on record his total abhorrence for racism and any activity associated with it," Winters said. "As someone who has spent years working with disadvantaged communities in Africa and India he can point to a CV in human rights work which undermines any suggestion he is racist."