Paris: French football legend Lilian Thuram believes the Chelsea fans who racially abused a black French man on the Paris metro "should stand trial".
The commuter, identified as 33-year-old Souleymane S., was seen in amateur video footage being repeatedly pushed back off the train as he tried to board with the fans chanting: "We`re racist, we`re racist, and that`s the way we like it!"
"This was very violent," the star of France`s 1998 World Cup-winning side, told AFP.
"It`s violence against human beings. This deed is a summary of all racist deeds. You have people suddenly saying `I don`t know you but I deny you the right to...` Why? `Because you`re black`," the 43-year-old added.
"Some people have this thought pattern that is this a superiority complex inherited from history. It`s on film, you can`t deny it. It happens every day."
The former Juventus and Parma defender regretted the lack of reaction from the RATP, the state-owned public transport operator.
"We cannot accept this. If someone hadn`t filmed it, no one would have talked about it. I am talking about education but it can be the education of the entire society", he said.
Thuram, a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, also criticised former AC Milan coach Arrigo Sacchi`s comment on Monday that there were "too many blacks" in Italian youth football.
"There are people who say racist things but claim they are not racist. Everyone is subject to bias, sometimes you don`t even know it", said Guadeloupe-born Thuram.
"But it is not possible to say such things anymore. You can`t deny someone a flat or prevent him from rising to the top because you don`t like his skin colour, his gender or his sexuality..."
Chelsea responded to widespread condemnation of the episode by announcing three supporters had been identified and have been suspended, pending further investigation.
The victim of the abuse meanwhile has lodged a criminal complaint with the French police, demanding that the culprits be punished.