Man abused by fans on Paris Metro before PSG-Chelsea wants action
The man who was blocked from boarding a Paris Metro train by supporters has called for those involved to be jailed, after Chelsea said they would ban any of their own fans found to be involved in the incident.
In an interview with Le Parisien, the French-Mauritian man, who is black and named by the newspaper as Souleymane S, says he could not bear to tell his wife or children about what occurred on Tuesday afternoon at the Richelieu-Drouot Metro station.
In footage posted on the Guardian website, he was pushed back by what appeared to be a group of fans travelling to the Parc des Princes for the Champions League match against Paris Saint-Germain, that finished 1-1.
A chant of ''We're racist, we're racist and that's the way we like it'' from the alleged Chelsea fans was clearly audible on a video of the incident.
The man, reported by Le Parisien to be a chief operating officer at a business close to the Metro station, told the newspaper: "These people, these English supporters, have to be found, punished and should be locked up. What happened shouldn't go unpunished."
Chelsea released a statement describing the incident as "abhorrent" and vowed to take the "strongest possible'' action if supporters are found to be involved.
The club would support criminal prosecutions and is working with the relevant authorities.
The incident was condemned by Prime Minister David Cameron, FIFA president Sepp Blatter, UEFA, the Football Association, the Chelsea Supporters' Trust, the Football Supporters' Federation and anti-racism groups Football Against Racism in Europe and Kick It Out. Several former and current players, including QPR's Rio Ferdinand, also spoke out.
Souleymane had no doubt about the reason he was blocked from entering the train carriage.
"I understood that they were attacking me because of the colour of my skin,'' he added.
"I wanted to get into the carriage but a group of English supporters blocked me and pushed me away. I tried to force my way on, I again tried to go back. In the jostling, I lost my phone.
"They were saying things in English to me but I wasn't understanding what they were saying. I don't speak a word of English.
"I understood that they were Chelsea supporters and I made the link with the PSG match which was taking place on the same evening.
"No passenger came to my defence but what could they do? You know, I live with racism, I wasn't truly surprised by what was happening to me even if it was a first for me on the Metro.
"The Metro train left, and I waited for the next one.
"I went back to my home without talking to anyone about this story, not my wife or my children. What could I say to my children? That dad was shoved on the Metro because he is black? That wouldn't be any use.
"I didn't know that I'd been filmed. The fact I'm now talking about this gives me the courage to make a complaint to the police. I'm going to try to do that tomorrow [Thursday] if I have time, because I also have to work.
"In any case, I intend to turn to anti-racist associations.''
Paris prosecutors have confirmed that the alleged victim had come forward officially.
"A formal complaint has been made by the presumed victim of this incident,'' Agnes Thibault, a spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutors' office said. "The complaint was made late last night.''
Ms Thibault added that the French authorities were working with their British counterparts and that the investigation was in its very early stages. She confirmed that anyone convicted could face a prison term of up to three years and a fine of up to 45,000 euro (£33,000).
Chelsea's French-born goalkeeping coach, Christophe Lollichon, told RMC he supports the club's stance.
Lollichon said: "It's scandalous. It's quite simply scandalous. We must condemn that. Unfortunately, it isn't only in football. It's not just Chelsea fans. I think you can see that everywhere, it's that which is regrettable.
"In any case, the club has taken a very firm position, and has made itself available to the authorities to try and help the investigation. Those responsible must be punished."
PSG president Nasser Al Khelaifi added on the French club's official website: "We strongly condemn this intolerable act of discrimination. Only the values of sport should inspire football fans.
"They promote the coming together of everyone, regardless of their origins. Sport must always transmit a spirit of fraternity. This problem concerns all those in charge of clubs, and calls on us to pay careful attention and show solidarity with one another to resolve it."