Chelsea Racists
Police have identified three suspects believed to have been involved in the racist incidentSource: Met Police

The Metropolitan Police have identified the three men being sought in connection with an incident of alleged racism by Chelsea fans on the Paris Metro.

Images of the three Chelsea fans were released on Friday (February 20) in a public appeal for information as to their identity in connection with an attack against a black man who was pushed from a Paris train.

The incident occurred on Tuesday (February 17) when a group of Chelsea fans were filmed pushing Sylla Souleymane, off the train as they chanted "we're racist and that's the way we like it."

The football fans were on their way to a Champions League match against Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday. Their images were captured on CCTV ahead of the club's 1-1 draw.

One of the suspects has been named as Richard Barklie, a former policeman.

Mr Barklie, 50, who was a member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and a Police Service of Northern Ireland officer, is currently a director of the World Human Rights Forum.

The Chelsea season ticket holder issued a statement through his solicitor Kevin Winters, in which he admitted being involved in an "incident" that resulted in Mr Souleymane being "unable to enter part of the train".

In the statement, Mr Winters said: "Pending formal engagement with police, our client is anxious to put on record his total abhorrence for racism and any activity associated with it.

"As someone who has spent years working with disadvantaged communities in Africa and India he can point to a CV in human rights work, which undermines any suggestion he is racist.

"Today a senior official in the World Human Rights Forum confirmed their support for him. He did not participate in racist chanting and singing and condemns any behaviour supporting that."

Mr Winters says Mr Barklie had travelled to matches for more than 20 years with no problems and has "an account to give to police which will explain the context and circumstances" of this incident.

"In the meantime pending that, he wants to put on record his sincerest apologies for the trauma and stress suffered by Mr Souleymane."

The shocking incident has prompted Chelsea FC to take swift and stern action against the perpetrators of the racist attack. Five fans have been barred from attending Stamford Bridge following the release of the video, and will face a lifetime ban if there is sufficient evidence of their involvement.

A spokesman said the club was writing to the victim to "apologise unreservedly", while manager Jose Mourinho has said he was "ashamed" by the alleged racism.

Club captain John Terry said the racist behaviour of Chelsea fans is "unacceptable."

The Wave Trauma Centre based in Belfast has said it has suspended a part-time worker following allegations that he was involved in the incident.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 live's Drive Sylla Souleymane said: "I felt truly wounded to the bottom of my heart that I really couldn't believe it.

"We're in 2015, aren't we, and we're in France. We're in a civilised country and when you are in a civilised country there are certain things you can't do.

"For me, it's a humiliation. I was humiliated in my country. I was humiliated in front of my family, humiliated in front of my mother and father."

British Transport Police is also investigating claims of racist chanting at London's St Pancras station by men thought to be Chelsea fans returning from the Champions League match in Paris on Wednesday evening.

Superintendent Gill Murray of the BTP said an allegation of racist chanting was reported by a member of the public who was "disgusted by the behaviour of the men", who had travelled on the 18:40 service from Paris Gare du Nord.