France: Victim of Chelsea fans' racial abuse 'shocked'

Franco-Mauritanian harassed by English club's fans on Paris Metro tells how other passengers failed to come to his aid.

France: Victim of Chelsea fans' racial abuse 'shocked'
World Bulletin / News Desk
 
 The black passenger harassed and prevented from boarding Paris train by a group of fans of English Premier League soccer team Chelsea has told a French newspaper how we felt shocked that no one came to his aid.

The 33-year-old Franco-Mauritanian, who gave his name as Souleymane S, told French daily Le Parisien in an interview published on Thursday that the fans, who were caught on video footage shouting racist slogans and barring him from boarding a carriage on the Paris metro two days earlier, should be caught and punished.

He said: "I don’t speak a word of English but I realized they had targeted me because of the color of my skin."

"What shocks me is that no one came to my support, they all kept silent. One person told me that I’m brave to stand to such people."

 Video goes viral 

A video of the incident recorded by Metro passenger and British expatriate Paul Nolan ahead of Chelsea playing Paris St Germain in a Champions League match at the Parc des Princes in Paris late on Tuesday was published by the UK daily The Guardian on Wednesday and went viral online.

Souleymane said: "I have lived with racism so what happened didn’t really surprise me, even if it was a first on the Metro."

Souleymane, who was born in Paris and grew up in the town of Val-d'Oise where he lives with his wife and three children, said that he lost his phone as the Chelsea fans were pushing him, and then took the next metro and went home.

He said: "I didn’t speak about this story to anyone, neither my wife nor my children."

“What could I say to them? 'Your dad was pushed off the Metro because he was black'?"

  'Punish' call 

Souleymane, who works as a chief operating officer in a company located near the Metro station where the incident took place, went on: "These people, these English fans must be found, punished and incarcerated. What happened should not go unpunished."

 The Paris prosecutor's office has launched an investigation into the incident and said it would be cooperating with British police forces to identify those involved.

The Metropolitan Police in London said in a statement that they "took offences of this nature seriously no matter where they occur".

"We will examine the footage with a view to seeing if we can apply for football banning orders, preventing people from travelling to future matches," the statement read.

 Incident condemned  

London club Chelsea condemned the act in a statement, saying it would ban any members or season-ticket holders who were found to have been involved in the incident.

The president of the international governing body of football FIFA, Sepp Blatter, said on Twitter: "I also condemn the actions of a small group of Chelsea fans in Paris. There is no place for racism in football."

The European governing body of the sport UEFA also condemned the act in a statement.

Any fans found guilty of charges of racist conduct could receive a term of up to three-years in prison and a €45,000 fine. 

Last Mod: 19 Şubat 2015, 14:25
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