A former policeman accused of being involved in an alleged racist incident with Chelsea football fans on the Paris Metro has apologised.
Richard Barklie, who was one of three men police sought after a black man was allegedly pushed off the train by chanting football supporters, has insisted he is not a racist.
Video posted online showed commuter Souleymane Sylla being pushed back onto the platform as some of those on the train chanted “we’re racist, we’re racist and that’s the way we like it”.
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 Sylla 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 WAVE Trauma Centre, which supports victims of the Northern Ireland Troubles, said it had suspended a part-time worker pending further investigation into the Paris incident.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman says the other two men in the photo have been identified and the force is working with the French authorities.
None of the men sought by Scotland Yard have been arrested.
Five people have so far been suspended from Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge ground following investigations into the incident.