UN rights office condemns racist incident on Paris Metro

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND (FEBRUARY 20, 2015) (REUTERS) – The United Nations rights office said on Friday (February 20) that there was still much work to be done to get rid of racism from soccer.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights spokesman was speaking about the Chelsea fans who racially abused a black man before Tuesday’s (February 17) Champions League match at Paris St Germain.

Chelsea have issued a strongly-worded apology to the man, identified only as Souleymane, and the club said it had been co-operating fully with the London and Paris police in their ongoing investigation.

“We strongly condemn the racist behaviour of a group of Chelsea football fans during the buildup to Champions League game in Paris on Tuesday,” said the OHCHR spokesman Rupert Colville. “The fans were filmed singing a song that flaunted their racism and repeatedly preventing a French citizen of African descent from boarding the Paris metro by shoving him back onto the platform.

“As you know in recent years we’ve been engaging in discussions with both FIFA and UEFA about exploring ways to enhance the effort to drum racism out of football, after numerous examples of racist behaviour by football fans, especially inside stadiums. And the events in the Richelieu-Drouot metro station show that much work remains to be done before racism is truly eradicated from this sport, let alone from society at large.”

The incident was captured on video by another passenger on the platform at the Richelieu-Drouot metro station.

Chelsea have suspended three people from their Stamford Bridge stadium following an investigation into the racist incident,

Police said no arrests were made in relation to the last 16 first-leg tie that ended in a 1-1 draw.

The video footage, posted on The Guardian newspaper’s website has been widely condemned by soccer authorities including Sepp Blatter, president of governing body FIFA.