Chelsea fans condemn racism

Football fans arriving for Chelsea’s match against Burnley condemn the racist incident that took place in Paris on Tuesday.

LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (FEBRUARY 21, 2015) (ITN) – Football fans arriving for Chelsea’s Premier League match against Burnley at Samford Bridge in London on Saturday (February 21) were unanimous in their condemnation of the racist incident that occured in Paris before their Champions League match against Paris St. Germain.

On Tuesday (February 17) supporters of the Premier League leaders were caught on camera preventing a black man, identified only as Souleymane, from boarding a Metro train while chanting racist comments before the 1-1 draw at Paris St Germain.

Chelsea, who have barred five fans from attending their Stamford Bridge ground, apologised on Friday (February 20) to the man who was racially abused and said in a statement that they were appalled by what they saw. Team manager Jose Mourinho spoke of his shame over the incident.

Speaking before the match on Saturday, one Chelsea supporter said racists were not welcome at Stamford Bridge.

“I think like all right-thinking Chelsea fans I was absolutely disgusted by it. I mean I’ve been coming here for over 45 years and you know these people are just not welcome here,” said one Chelsea supporter.

“This is the club of (Didier) Drogba, (Marcel) Desailly, of (Jimmy Floyd) Hasselbaink and (Claude) Makele. I mean, everyone is welcome here apart from racists. I do think one good thing to come out of it was how quickly the club reacted, it was swift, it was decisive, they appear to have sort of tracked down some of these people. I hope they find all of them because they certainly aren’t welcome here,” he added.

Another Chelsea fans said those responsible for the abuse did not represent the club.

“I think it’s a good thing that the club has actually come out to denounce those sort of people. But personally I think if you have been following Chelsea as a football club, definitely you know that the statement from the club is not far from the truth,” the fan said.

“You’ve seen most of the club legends, definitely you describe most of them are black, so I think if anyone wants to deny the fact that Chelsea was saying the truth, definitely you know that you’re not telling yourself the truth so the statement from the club has certainly confirmed this, then those people do not represent the club and I’m quite happy with that,” he added.

Alastair Campbell, former communications director for British prime minister Tony Blair, said he thought the club handled the situation well.

“It’s been horrific and I think Chelsea have handled it really, really well but we’re kidding ourselves if we don’t think there aren’t still racists who, not just go to football matches, but are in British society so I think, I really hoping today that there is a sort of big show of support by the club for the gentleman who was racially abused but also for showing that there’s absolutely no truck with racist behaviour by any of their supporters,” said Burnley supporter Campbell.

Chelsea have invited Souleymane and his family to watch the last-16 return leg against PSG at Stamford Bridge next month.

British police are investigating a second allegation of racism involving Chelsea fans, after a complaint that men returning from Paris chanted racist slogans at London’s St Pancras station.

The incident happened on Wednesday (February 18) evening, the day after Chelsea played Paris St Germain, British Transport Police said.