Chelsea fan involved in Paris Metro racism incident apologises for his involvement
Richard Barklie, an ex-police officer and Chelsea fan, has issued an apology for his part in the alleged racist incident in the Paris Metro. The 50-year-old however denied that he is racist. Barklie, who hails from Carrickfergus, County Antrim, was identified as one of the persons of interest by the Met Police in the incident that saw a black man repeatedly pushed off a Paris Metro train by a group of Chelsea fans who sang racist chants.
Mr Barklie, an ex-Royal Ulster Constabulary and Police Service of Northern Ireland officer, is currently a director with the World Human Rights Forum – a human rights organisation. Barklie, a Chelsea season ticket holder, issued a statement through Belfast based solicitor Kevin Winters.
In the statement, Barklie said:
- He had been involved in an "incident" in which a man - identified as Souleymane S - was "unable to enter part of the train"
- He had not taken part in racist singing and "condemns any behaviour supporting that"
- He had contacted the Met Police to "explain the context and circumstances" and wanted to "put on record his total abhorrence for racism"
- He wanted to state his "sincerest apologies for the trauma and stress suffered by Mr Souleymane"
- He went to the match alone and did not know anyone shown in the video
- He had travelled to games for more than 20 years "without incident" and had never been part of any "group or faction" of Chelsea fans
Barklie mentions human rights work to defend himself
He also added in the statement, “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.”
The Met Police had earlier identified the three Chelsea fans involved in the Paris Metro incident and released their images including that of Barklie. The police have already made the arrangements to take the investigation in the next stage.
Chelsea have already suspended five fans based on the video of the incident and will be imposing life-bans on the suspended fans from attending Stamford Bridge if there is sufficient evidence of their involvement.
A spokesman said the club was writing to the victim to “apologise unreservedly.”