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Victim of racism offers to fight bigotry damaging football

TARGET: Souleymane Sylla

THE FRENCHMAN who was racially abused on the Paris Metro train by a small group of Chelsea fans has expressed his feelings after five of them received football banning orders.

Souleymane Sylla was repeatedly prevented from boarding the train as he made his way home from work. Then some on the train were heard singing "We're racist, we're racist, and that's the way we like it" as they traveled to the Champions League game against Paris St. Germain on February 17.

Sylla originally turned down the Blues invite for him to visit Stamford Bridge, but has since changed his mind. He told Radio 5 Live: "I plan to go. When they first invited me it was early on. I did refuse their invitation, I just want to do it at a later stage. I had an open wound and it was hurting me, so I couldn't go out and I was scared.

"But the door is open. Even if Chelsea want to invite me I will go. We will talk about racism and everything about racism to try to eradicate it in the world of football."

Five men, including a former policeman, received football banning orders ranging between three and five years. While Chelsea moved quickly to ban all involved from Stamford Bridge, for life.

Despite his open mind, Sylla's life has been turned upside down by the incident. He added: "My life has been shaken up. I am on medication, I am traumatised - not only me, but my children are traumatised too.

"Because of them I no longer work. Because of them insulting me in the train my life has been turned upside down. I take anti-depressants, I'm taking them now. Imagine that for five months - a father who has worked all his life, the head of the family who now can't work because of those people."

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