One of four supporters of English Premier League club Chelsea accused of racist violence towards a black man in a Paris metro train in February 2015 arrives for his trial at the Palais de Justice in Paris on January 3, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / BERTRAND GUAY
Four Chelsea football fans, including an ex-policeman, battled charges of racist violence in a Paris court on Tuesday for which they could face prison terms.
In the Paris metro, the four were among Chelsea fans who chanted “we are racist, we are racist and that’s the way we like it” as they pushed back a black man trying to board the train.
In court, the fans denied their acts were racist in nature.
Joshua Parsons, 22, a former pupil of the elite Millfield school in England, now working in the building trade, and James Fairbairn, 25, a civil engineer, were the only two among the four to appear in court.
Both wore grey suits for the hearing where a video of the incident was shown.
Richard Barklie, a 52-year-old former policeman, and William Simpson, 27, were tried in absentia.
The incident in February 2015 before a Champions League match between Paris Saint Germain and Chelsea was filmed by a Briton, Paul Nolan, and published by the Guardian newspaper.
The video showed commuter Souleymane Sylla repeatedly being violently thwarted in his attempts to get on a train at the Richelieu–Drouot station. Station CCTV footage also recorded the scene.
Parsons, Fairbairn and Barklie have already been banned from football stadiums in Britain.
In France, they face a jail term of up to seven years and a 100,000-euro fine.