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Friday 15 December 2017

Chelsea fan at centre of Paris race storm faces disciplinary action at work if found guilty

Joshua Parsons and UKIP leader Nigel Farage
Joshua Parsons and UKIP leader Nigel Farage

A Chelsea fan at the centre of the Paris Metro race storm faces disciplinary action at work if he is charged over the incident, his boss has said.

Finance worker Josh Parsons, 21, was identified online as one of around 40 or 50 fans present when a black man was shoved off a train.

Supporters could be heard chanting "We're racist and that's the way we like it" and "Where were you in World War Two?"

Mr Parsons, understood to be a former pupil at the £30,000 a year Millfield public school, is an assistant at the Business and Commercial Finance Club in Mayfair.

Company founder Miranda Khadr said: "At this stage we are in a situation where this is very much Josh and his personal matters.

Read More: Man pushed off Paris train by Chelsea fans wants punishment

"Should he be charged we will be looking at taking action."

It is understood that Mr Parsons was not at work today, with Ms Khadr telling reporters that he was "very scared".

There is no suggestion at present that he was involved in the pushing or the chanting, but he could be a vital witness for inquiries being conducted both by the French authorities and Scotland Yard.

The young man's family stood by him, saying that the incident had "come out of the blue".

His aunt Louise said: "He is a lovely boy and has never been in any trouble. He is a lifelong Chelsea fan and that has never been a problem.

"I have seen the footage but have not yet spoken to him. We do not know what to make of it but it is a shock to the family. He is a lovely gentle boy who would not hurt anyone."

A picture also emerged of Mr Parsons posing with Ukip leader Nigel Farage, but the party denied that he is a member and claimed that it has never heard of him.

A Ukip spokesman said: "This photograph was taken outside a London pub. Mr Farage is photographed with and by dozens of people, both by supporters and opponents on a daily basis.

"Ukip and Mr Farage find the behaviour of the suspected Chelsea fans on the Paris Metro to be disgraceful, and shames both the country and Chelsea Football Club.

Read More: Chelsea condemn fans who pushed black man off Paris Metro and chanted – 'We’re racist, we’re racist, and that’s the way we like it'

"We are delighted that the identities of these people are being revealed, and that they will face the full force of the law."

The black man pushed off the train said the perpetrators must be punished.

Identified only as 33-year-old Souleymane, he told Le Parisien newspaper he initially did not understand the supporters' chants of "We're racist and that's the way we like it" as he does not speak English.

He said: "I understand they were attacking me because of the colour of my skin.

"I live with racism. I was not really surprised by what happened to me, even if it was a first in the subway.

"I intend to talk to anti-racism organisations. These people, these English fans, must be found and punished ... What happened should not go unpunished."

The fans' actions have been condemned around the world after video footage of the incident went viral.

Scotland Yard detectives have said they are examining the footage, while Chelsea FC has vowed to support any criminal prosecutions.

One supporter who was on the train claimed the man was pushed because he was a Paris St Germain (PSG) fan rather than for being black.

Season ticket-holder Mitchell McCoy, 17, said: "People were saying it was because he was black. It's not true at all. I personally think it's because he was a PSG fan. Obviously they didn't want him anywhere with us."

The fans were travelling to the Parc des Princes ground for Chelsea's Champions League match against PSG on Tuesday evening, which ended in a 1-1 draw.

British expat Paul Nolan, who filmed the incident, told the Guardian that the group pushed a couple of PSG supporters out of the train before the black man.

He also said the fans threw coins at onlookers on the platform and that he heard one threaten to stab a PSG fan.

Prime Minister David Cameron said the incident appeared to be "extremely disturbing and very worrying", while TV football pundit and former England captain Gary Lineker described it as "sickening, embarrassing, moronic, disgraceful".

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