PHOTOGRAPHS of seven men have been released by police investigating racist chanting at a mainline station following a Chelsea Champions League football match earlier this month.
British Transport Police (BTP) said the images were taken at St Pancras International station in London at around 8pm on 18 February. A member of the public reported the “disgusting” shouts to the BTP following the alleged incident on Wednesday of last week.
Superintendent Gill Murray of BTP said: “The racist chanting was reported by a member of the public who was disgusted by the behaviour of the men who had travelled from Paris Gard du Nord.
“The men shouted as they walked through the station having alighted from the train a short time earlier.
“If you travelled on the train from Paris or were at the station and have information which can assist our investigation I would urge you to get in touch as a matter of urgency.”
She added: “It’s clear that unfortunately there is still a minority who think it is acceptable to behave in such an abhorrent manner.
“There is more that needs to be done to address the issue and British Transport Police is actively working with football clubs, the football authorities and other key agencies to tackle this appalling behaviour.”
BTP’s chief constable Paul Crowther said: “The majority of football fans cause no problems at all. Many thousands of supporters use the transport network without issue, and abide by the law. However, every weekend, the travelling public, law-abiding supporters and rail staff are distressed by anti-social and intimidating behaviour from a minority determined to cause trouble.”
The events at St Pancras came the day after an incident on the Paris Metro before Chelsea’s match with Paris St Germain when a black man was subjected to alleged racist abuse.
BTP Detective Sergeant Steven Graysmark said: “I want anyone who knows the men in the photographs to come forward. I believe the seven, thought to be Chelsea fans, can help us with the investigation. Do you know any of the men in the images? If so, please contact BTP.”
Last week a Chelsea fan admitted he was involved in an incident on the Paris Metro in which a black man was prevented from boarding a train while a group of men chanted a racist song.
Richard Barklie, 50, a former police officer who now works as a director for the World Human Rights Forum, apologised but denied he was a racist. Mr Barklie issued a statement through his lawyer in which he admitted involvement in an “incident” that resulted in the man, named as Souleymane S, being “unable to enter the train”, but denied singing any racist songs and saying he “condemns any behaviour supporting that”.
Scotland Yard is investigating but cannot arrest people for offences which happen outside the UK. It is likely to seek football banning orders.
Police in France are also probing what happened and anyone convicted of singing racist songs can face three years in prison and a £33,000 fine.
Five people have so far been banned from Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge ground following investigations into the incident.
The club has reiterated its promise to ban for life anyone proved to have been involved in the incident and is helping police in the UK and Paris.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said the club was “appalled” by the racial abuse.
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