The black commuter who was racially abused by Chelsea fans on the Paris Metro will be attending tonight’s Champions League match against the London club and Paris Saint-Germain.
A group of Chelsea fans chanted “we’re racist and that’s the way we like it” whilst refusing to allow Souleymane Sylla to board the Metro by pushing him off the train. He suffered the racism before the two sides went head-to-head on the 17th of February last year. He said recently, “My wounds… after one year are still present and very much open”.
Paris Saint-Germain have invited Mr. Sylla to tonight’s match at the Parcs des Princes as a guest of the club. He was quick to offer his thanks to PSG for the way they have treated him in the aftermath of the incident, though he confessed it has taken him and his family time to recover. He said, “I was affected by it, but [although they weren’t with me] my family were affected by what happened more. My young children were traumatised by it all… It’s taken one year for me to be able to take the Metro again. Paris Saint-Germain have supported me enormously after what happened”.
Mr. Sylla has been unimpressed by the way that the defending Premier League champions have behaved in the aftermath of the incident, however. He said, “I have not heard any news from Chelsea since last year. I think that’s the only bad thing in all of this. It was Chelsea supporters who attacked me it should be Chelsea who are supporting me”.
Joshua Parsons, William Simpson and Richard Barklie were all banned from attending football matches for five years, whilst Jordan Munday was banned for three years. Dean Callis, meanwhile, was given a five year banning order because of a number of incidents including the one on the Paris Metro.
Mr. Sylla confirmed that tonight’s game will be the second that he’s attended since the incident with the Chelsea fans but that they ‘don’t represent football’. He said, “I want to be present in the sporting arena in order to eradicate racism because there is lots of racism in football”.