Northern Ireland

Chelsea fan Richard Barklie: Paris train 'was too full'

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Media captionSpeaking to the Sunday World, Mr Barklie said he was not a racist and denied taking part in any racist singing

An ex-police officer and Chelsea fan involved in an alleged racist incident on the Paris Metro has said he pushed a black man away from a train carriage "because it was too full".

Richard Barklie, 50, of Carrickfergus, County Antrim, was one of three men identified on CCTV footage by the Metropolitan Police.

"I'm not a racist and I never have been a racist," he told the Sunday World.

He added: "I did not take part in any racist singing."

The Metropolitan Police has passed on the details of the three men to the authorities in France, who are investigating the incident before Chelsea's Champions League game against Paris St-Germain.

Chelsea has suspended five fans and said it would ban them from attending Stamford Bridge for life if there was sufficient evidence of their involvement.

Mr Barklie, an ex-Royal Ulster Constabulary and Police Service of Northern Ireland officer, is currently a director with a human rights organisation - the World Human Rights Forum - and has also worked supporting victims of the Troubles.

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Richard Barklie said the man was pushed off the train because it was too full, not because of the colour of his skin

In his most detailed public account about the incident to date, Mr Barklie told the paper: "People behind me were pushing and he was pushed back off. He never attempted to see if there was more room in any of the other carriages.

"He was pushed off simply because the carriage was full, no other reason - it had nothing to do with the colour of his skin."

Mr Barklie said he would be happy to meet the man.

"I would tell him I was sorry for any trauma or stress he received as a result of what happened, but I would also say, it wasn't because he was black," he added.

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