PARIS: A black French man pushed off a Paris metro train and racially abused by Chelsea supporters on Thursday made an official complaint to police and demanded that the fans be punished.
“These people, these English supporters, must be found, punished and locked up,” the victim of the widely condemned assault told Le Parisien newspaper.
The man, who has not been officially identified but was named as 33-year-old Souleymane S by Le Parisien, had been unaware of the row caused by Tuesday night’s incident until found by the newspaper.
He went to a police station on Thursday to make his complaint.
French and British police have already launched a hunt for the self-proclaimed racist fans after the episode in a central Paris metro station before Chelsea’s 1-1 Champions League draw against Paris Saint-Germain.
Amateur video footage showed Chelsea fans repeatedly pushing Souleymane S. back off the train as he tried to board and then chanting: “We’re racist, we’re racist, and that’s the way we like it!”
“I didn’t know I was being filmed. The fact that it’s being talked about has given me the courage to go and file a complaint with the police,” Souleymane S, said.
The man recounted: “I wanted to get into the carriage but a group of English fans were blocking me and pushing me off.
“They were saying to me things in English but I didn’t really understand the meaning of their words.
“I realised they were targeting me because of the colour of my skin. You know I live with racism, I wasn’t totally surprised at what happened even if this was the first time it’d happened in the metro.
“I returned home without saying anything about it to anyone, not my wife, nor my children. What can I tell my kids? That papa was shoved in the metro because he’s black? That wouldn’t help things at all.”
The man was born in Paris to Mauritanian parents.
The newspaper reported that Souleymane S. lives north of Paris and works near the Richelieu-Drouot metro station where Tuesday’s incident took place.
It was at the station that Le Parisien say they came across him on Wednesday.
According to the paper, he was unaware of the furore the story had stirred up.
French prosecutors have opened an investigation into “deliberate racial violence on public transport”. London police said they would assist the French investigation.
In a statement, Chelsea called the incident “abhorrent”. The club has called on its fans to help identify the supporters involved in the abuse.
Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron called the incident “extremely disturbing”.
Activist groups have already called on football’s leadership to do more to combat racism in the game.
Former England defender Rio Ferdinand called the incident “disgraceful behaviour” but questioned whether the football powers want to do more.
“Does football want to change this? Do the people in the game that hold the power really want to put the hard yards in to eradicate racism?” Ferdinand said. -AFP