Viral events attract huge attention before the world moves on, but the consequences of the racist taunting by Chelsea fans earlier this year are still being felt, even if the publicity level is lower.
You’ll remember that a small group of fans appeared to push a black man off a Paris subway train after Chelsea’s Champions League match against Paris Saint-Germain in February, chanting “we’re racist and that’s the way we like it”. Footage went viral and the victim, Souleymane S., said it was “a shock that I can’t get over,” he doesn’t take the Metro any more, he’s being treated for depression and that French Chelsea fans in his neighborhood jeer at him.
On Wednesday, three of the men were in a London court where British police were seeking to ban them from attending domestic soccer matches and to stop them from traveling abroad during major international fixtures. Another man had already accepted a five-year ban that will also see him handing his passport to police at certain times.
Highlights (lowlights) from the ongoing court case, per the Mirror’s live-blog:
- Around 60 Chelsea fans were apparently drinking at a pub near the main rail station on the day, many drunk and using Class A drugs (the classification for the likes of cocaine, heroin, meth and ecstasy).
- One of the accused pushed a local man, who tried to pick up a flare thrown by a Chelsea fan.
- Chelsea fans headed for the Metro station chanted “Where were you in World War Two?”
- Before a game with PSG in the previous season, there was an altercation between a restaurant owner and Chelsea fans that saw the owner spray them with tear gas.
- Fans were heard singing “John Terry is a racist and that’s the way we like it.”
All in all, it’s a sobering reminder of the sick underbelly — a hangover from the hooligan era of the ‘70s and ‘80s — that lingers beneath the modern, glossy, moneyed surface of the English Premier League.
And you have to wonder: How many of these types of incidents happen that aren’t captured on camera?