Former RUC man facing football ban denies he is racist

Former RUC man facing football ban denies he is racist

RICHARD BARKLIE, a former RUC officer from Carrickfergus in Co. Antrim, was the "prime mover" in an alleged racist incident that saw a black man prevented from boarding a Paris train, a court has heard.

The incident, which happened ahead of Chelsea's Champions League tie with Paris St Germain in February, was captured on mobile phone footage, during which fans could be heard chanting: “We’re racist and that’s the way we like it.”

Mr Barklie, 50, is one of four Chelsea fans fighting attempts by the Metropolitan Police to issue them with football banning orders that would prevent them from attending games at home or abroad.

Barklie, who was not present at Thames Magistrates' Court in Stratford, east London, denies that he is a racist, however the prosecution said he "was present in the group, pushed the victim twice and joined in the chanting".

Adam Clemens, seeking the banning order on behalf of the police, told the court that Barklie shoved the black man, Souleymane Sylla, back onto the platform as he tried to board the train at Richelieu-Drouot station. “He [Barklie] pushed Mr Souleymane off twice and was instrumental and the prime mover in this incident,” said Clemens.

But Nick Scott, defending Barklie, said the film footage of the incident, which was played in court, showed that his client had his hands in his pockets and was not chanting.

He suggested that the black man, identified only as Souleyman S, was only prevented from boarding because the carriage was too full.

"There is a discussion between Mr Souleymane and those in the train for a couple of seconds," said Mr Scott. "He tries to get in the train. He tries to force himself in the train and he is forced off. There are three people in the way filling up the door. He's just pushed off - no violence or aggression."

He further pointed out that Barklie’s work in human rights, “healing the scars of the Troubles in Northern Ireland”, showed he was a man of compassion.

Barklie has lectured on tolerance on behalf of the World Human Rights Forum, a global network of campaigners which lectures on racial tolerance.

He has quoted Gandhi and Martin Luther King in his addresses appealing for racial tolerance.

Mr Barklie is also an outreach worker for Wave, a cross-community charity which supports Troubles victims.

The three other men appearing with Barklie are Jordan Munday, 20, of Ellenborough Road, Sidcup, south-east London; Josh Parsons, 20, of Woodhouse Place, Dorking, Surrey; and William Simpson, 26, of Hengrove Crescent in Ashford, Surrey.