22 February 2015
Last updated at 22:21
Richard Barklie said he had travelled to Chelsea matches for more than 20 years “without incident”
An ex-police officer and Chelsea fan has apologised for his part in an alleged racist incident on the Paris Metro – but has denied he is a racist.
Richard Barklie, 50, of Carrickfergus, County Antrim, was identified as one of the people sought by the Met Police.
In a statement, he denied racist chanting and said he wanted to explain the context of the incident to police.
Chelsea Football Club has barred five fans after a video showed a black man being prevented from boarding a train.
Mr Barklie, an ex-Royal Ulster Constabulary and Police Service of Northern Ireland officer, is currently a director with a human rights organisation – the World Human Rights Forum – and has also worked supporting victims of the Troubles.
Belfast solicitor Kevin Winters issued a statement on behalf of the Chelsea season ticket-holder.
In it he said Mr Barklie:
- had been involved in an “incident” in which a man – identified as Souleymane S – was “unable to enter part of the train”
- had not taken part in racist singing and “condemns any behaviour supporting that”
- had contacted the Met Police to “explain the context and circumstances” and wanted to “put on record his total abhorrence for racism”
- wanted to state his “sincerest apologies for the trauma and stress suffered by Mr Souleymane”
- went to the match alone and did not know anyone shown in the video
- had travelled to games for more than 20 years “without incident” and had never been part of any “group or faction” of Chelsea fans
A member of the public filmed the incident on the day of Chelsea’s match in Paris
The statement added: “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.”
It said the Met Police had confirmed “arrangements were in hand to take the investigation to the next stage”.
Earlier, the Met said three men being sought in connection with the incident had been identified – and released images including one of Mr Barklie.
CCTV images were released by the Met Police of three men on the Paris Metro
Amateur video shot at Paris’s Richelieu-Drouot station showed a man being pushed from the Metro train while a group chanted: “We’re racist, we’re racist and that’s the way we like it.”
Chelsea has said it will ban the five suspended fans from attending Stamford Bridge for life if there is sufficient evidence of their involvement.
A spokesman said the club was writing to the victim to “apologise unreservedly”, while manager Jose Mourinho has said he is “ashamed” by the alleged racism.