Lord Ouseley Calls Chelsea Metro Incident A 'National Problem'

Chelsea Metro Incident Part Of A 'National Problem'

Lord Ouseley called the bigotry displayed in Paris by British soccer fans a "Chelsea problem, a football problem and a national problem”, which is underpinned by "prejudice and hatred”.

The founding chairman of the Kick it Out campaign spoke to Newsnight on Wednesday, reacting to the video shot on the Paris Metro in which a group of Chelsea fans prevented a man from boarding a Paris train, chanting "We're racist, we're racist and that's the way we like it."

Ouseley highlighted the need for a better approach in dealing with an "anti-immigrant" tone in Britain, which he said had "contributed to the prejudice of how people stereotyping others”. He added that even if the Chelsea fans responsible were caught, it would not address the bigger problem of the culture of racism.

Earlier on Wednesday, UK police said they were investigating whether the fans can be banned from football.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "The Metropolitan Police Service takes offences such as this very seriously, no matter where they occur. We will examine the footage with a view to seeing if we can apply for football banning orders, preventing people from travelling for future matches."

He added: "We will, of course, assist French authorities to identify the people involved and support them in any action they choose to take. At the same time we will be working closely with Chelsea Football Club."

Chelsea has said it is willing to ban the fans

Season ticket-holder Mitchell McCoy, 17, from Fulham in London, was among 40 or 50 Chelsea fans on the train when the incident was filmed by British expat Paul Nolan.

Speaking to Press Association Sport, Mitchell said: "We got on the train and at the station where the man was trying to get on we stopped for a couple of minutes. He tried to get on and a few people were pushing him off because there wasn't much space on the carriage. You couldn't move. People were saying it was because he was black. It's not true at all. I personally think it's because he was a PSG fan. Obviously they didn't want him anywhere with us."

Nolan told The Guardian that the group pushed a couple of PSG supporters out of the train before the black man.

He also said the fans threw coins at onlookers on the platform. "I was ashamed of their behaviour, as a fellow Brit," Nolan said. "The black man was pushed quite forcefully. If he hadn't been quite a big guy himself he could have been knocked over. He gets pushed and humiliated."

Chelsea officials said they are working with the authorities to see if those involved have season tickets or any other connection to the club.

"Such behaviour is abhorrent and has no place in football or society," a club spokesman said. "We will support any criminal action against those involved, and should evidence point to involvement of Chelsea season ticket-holders or members, the club will take the strongest possible action against them, including banning orders."

Prime Minister David Cameron said the incident appeared to be "extremely disturbing and very worrying". TV football pundit and former England captain Gary Lineker said: "Just saw the video of the Chelsea mob's deplorable behaviour and racist chants. Sickening, embarrassing, moronic, disgraceful."

Fellow ex-England star Ian Wright added: "Chelsea, what you gonna do? Your club has been linked to racism for so long!"

Kick It Out, the campaign against racism in football, said it hopes anyone implicated is banned from football, not just Chelsea matches.

Speaking on Wednesday afternoon, Ouseley, said: "I was shocked that Chelsea fans were still behaving like this. I thought the club had made it quite clear and taken action about stopping any repetition, knowing Chelsea, how hard they've worked on these matters, with fans as well as players. The fact it involved an assault as well, of the individual that they pushed off the train, was even more shocking."

French authorities also launched a judicial investigation, according to French media sources. Paris prosecutors have opened an inquiry into "voluntary (acts of) violence for reasons of race in a public transport system".

Anyone who has information about the identity of those involved is asked to call the police non-emergency line 101.


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