A SHOCKING video of a group of Chelsea supporters singing a racist chant and preventing a black man from boarding the Métro in Paris has sparked widespread condemnation.
Amateur footage shows the man repeatedly trying to get onto a train, only to be shoved out of the door and back onto the platform. The fans are heard chanting "We're racist, we're racist, and that's the way we like it".
The incident was filmed at the Richelieu-Drouot station ahead of Chelsea's Champions League game against Paris Saint-Germain at Parc des Princes on 17 February, and released to the Guardian by British expatriate Paul Nolan.
French authorities have opened a criminal investigation into the incident.
The Paris prosecutor's office started an inquiry into "racially motivated violence" after viewing an amateur video shot by a British resident in the French capital.
If the young British men seen repelling a black passenger from a a Metro train are identified, French judicial authorities will issue a European arrest warrant and seek their extradition to France, officials said.
Paris prosecutors have said the fans face three years in prison and a 45,000 € fine for "racist violence on public transport".
Chelsea released a statement on Tuesday evening condemning the behaviour of the fans.
"Such behaviour is abhorrent and has no place in football or society," Chelsea's statement read.
"We will support any criminal action against those involved, and should evidence point to involvement of Chelsea season-ticket holders or members the club will take the strongest possible action against them, including banning orders."
Mr Nolan told the Guardian: "The doors were open and I could see and hear that a lot of chanting was going on. It looked like it was quite aggressive so I just took out by phone to record it.
"He was obviously completely shocked when they pushed him off. I don't think he realised who they were. He then tried to get on again and got pushed off a second time.
"I was just completely appalled by it and so that's why I tried to catch some of it on my phone, although I was a bit self-conscious as it was getting quite aggressive and I overhead one of the Chelsea fans say something about stabbing someone. I think he was referring to a Paris Saint-Germain supporter who was on the platform," Mr Nolan added.
Just saw the video of the Chelsea mob's deplorable behaviour and racist chants. Sickening, embarrassing, moronic, disgraceful.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) February 18, 2015
"There definitely was a culture shock. I heard a couple of French guys saying: 'I can't believe this. It's insane.'"
French police reportedly used teargas outside the match venue when scuffles involving Chelsea fans flared up before the game.
Since the incident, Uefa has said that it is outside their remit to act as it occurred away from the staium. However BBC sports news correspondent Richard Conway quoted a spokesperson as saying they "condemn all forms of discrimination" and are "appalled by the incident".
"It is a matter for the local authorities to investigate further and Uefa supports any action that is taken," they added.
Football fans and commentators have reacted with disgust at the footage, slamming the behaviour of the Chelsea supporters.
Despicable stuff from those Chelsea fans on the train in Paris tonight. Disgusting vile racists @kickitout— Anfield Talk (@Anfield_Talk) February 18, 2015
However a Chelsea fan has since defended the actions of the group, insisting they were singing about team captain John Terry.
Mitchell McCoy, a season-ticket holder who travelled to Paris with five friends, was named on Twitter following the publication of the video.
The 17-year-old from Fulham in London told Press Association Sport: "I'm not in the video but I'm on the carriage. We got on the train and at the station where the man was trying to get on we stopped for a couple of minutes.
"He tried to get on and a few people were pushing him off because there wasn't much space on the carriage. You couldn't move.
"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. That guy in the video tried to force himself on, so they pushed him off."
The Met police released a statement, which read: "We are aware of footage currently on the internet allegedly involving Chelsea fans in Paris. The Metropolitan Police Service takes offences such as this very seriously, no matter where they occur.
"We will examine the footage with a view to seeing if we can apply for football banning orders, preventing people from travelling from future matches. We will, of course, assist French authorities to identify the people involved and support them in any action they choose to take.
"At the same time we will be working closely with Chelsea football club."
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.