Racism and soccer hooliganism go hand-in-hand in Britain, a country which is as passionate about soccer as it is about afternoon tea and the Queen.
In a recent disturbing display of open racism, fans from Chelsea FC, a London based club, prevented a black man from boarding a train at a Paris subway station, chanting,”We’re racist, we’re racist, and that’s the way we like it!”
The officials at Chelsea have condemned the incident, calling its fans’ behavior “abhorrent.”
The Guardian newspaper in the UK obtained amateur video footage showing the incident unfold in all its hateful glory, as the excited fans taunted the man, who was simply trying to board the train.
The unidentified black man repeatedly tried to squeeze into the carriage but he was aggressively pushed and prevented from boarding.
An official statement release by Chelsea FC read,
“Such behavior is abhorrent and has no place in football or society. 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.”
European football’s governing body UEFA also condemned the incident, saying,
“UEFA condemns all forms of discrimination and we are appalled by the incident which took place in the Paris Metro on Tuesday. However, as it occurred away from the stadium, it is outside UEFA’s remit to act. It is a matter for the local authorities to investigate further and UEFA supports any action that is taken.”
The condemnations from the highest echelons in world soccer also came from FIFA president, Sepp Blatter. “I also condemn the actions of a small group of Chelsea fans in Paris,” he wrote on Twitter. “There is no place for racism in football!”
The amateur footage, which was recorded by Paul Nolan, a Briton living in Paris, left him “completely appalled” by what he saw at Richelieu-Drouot station in central Paris, pointing out to The Guardian that in point of fact, Chelsea is a, “Jewish-owned team with a majority of black and foreign players.”