The racism row engulfing Chelsea fans has widened as police now say they are seeking a gang of men, believed to be Chelsea supporters, who were heard shouting racist chants at a London station.
The incident, which took place at London St Pancras on Wednesday evening, happened the day after fans from the same football club allegedly pushed a black man off a Paris Metro while shouting a racist chant. The victim of the attack has since said he will reject Chelsea's invitation to visit the team's Stamford Bridge ground, because of the stress he is under.
Stickers emblazoned with "Support Chelsea Support Equality" were handed out at Stamford Bridge before today's match against Burnley. Chelsea's matchday program denounced the abuse over several pages, including a column by captain John Terry, who served a four-match Football Association ban in 2012 after being found guilty of racially abusing then-Queens Park Rangers player Anton Ferdinand in a game.
"This club stands against all forms of discrimination," Terry wrote. "Football is a sport for everyone, that is one of the main reasons why we love it."
Before kickoff against Burnley, fans of the Blues unfurled a banner reading: "Black or white we're all blue."
Brilliant banner at Stamford Bridge this afternoon. pic.twitter.com/LKuw7F9TPB— Purely Football (@PurelyFootball) February 21, 2015
— L'ÉQUIPE (@lequipe) February 21, 2015
Fans Chelsea di London membuktikan kalo mereka tidak rasis dengan membuat sticker. pic.twitter.com/lQLFUoPJ0t— For Football Sake (@FFS_ID) February 21, 2015
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- Lord Ouseley Calls Chelsea Metro Incident A 'National Problem'
- Chelsea Fans 'Prevent Black Man From Boarding Train In Paris' In Shocking Footage
An investigation is currently under way after a member of the public reported the men, who had travelled by train from Paris Gard du Nord, to British Transport Police.
It is believed they were returning home after attending the Champions League one-all draw against Paris St Germain on Tuesday. Superintendent Gill Murray, of British Transport Police, said: "The racist chanting was reported by a member of the public who was disgusted by the behaviour of the men who had travelled on the 6.40pm service 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. 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 publicly condemn this type of behaviour and British Transport Police is actively working with football clubs, the football authorities and other key agencies to tackle this appalling behaviour."
The news comes as police revealed they are seeking three more Chelsea football fans they believe were involved in Tuesday's allegedly racist incident on the Paris Metro train. Five people have so far been suspended from Stamford Bridge following investigations into the incident.
Images have been released in a bid to identify the trio, who the Metropolitan Police think were among a group of Chelsea supporters who pushed a black man off the train and chanted a racist song while on the way to the Champions League match.
The club has reiterated its promise to ban for life anyone proved to have been involved in the altercation and is helping police in the UK and Paris.
It comes as the man pushed off the train, identified only as 33-year-old Souleymane, said the incident is the club's "responsibility".
Speaking of his ordeal, Souleymane told BBC Radio 5 Live: "I felt truly wounded to the bottom of my heart that I really couldn't believe it.
Chelsea have said they are "appalled" and apologised to the victim, while manager Jose Mourinho said he was "ashamed" of the fans involved, and the club said it has also invited him and his family to London to attend the second leg of the European clash against PSG on March 11. A group of Chelsea fans crowd-funded £2,000 to bring Souleymane to London, but he has told French media he intends to turn down the invite.
"I appreciate Mr Mourinho's invitation, but I can't get my head around being in a stadium at the moment," he told Le Parisien.
Souleymane has now been contacted by French President Francois Hollande. The presidential palace Twitter account said Saturday that Hollande "gave him his full support following the odious racist aggression he suffered."