Chelsea FC has launched a campaign to raise awareness about antisemitism in football.
The official launch takes place at the clubs’ Premier League fixture against Bournemouth on 31st January.
The initiative is aimed at players, staff, fans and the wider community and forms part of an on-going Chelsea Foundation’s Building Bridges campaign.
Club owner Roman Abramowich has backed the initiative.
A club statement noted: “Everybody at Chelsea is proud to be part of a diverse club. Our players, staff, fans and visitors to the club come from a wide range of backgrounds including the Jewish community and we want to ensure everyone feels safe, valued and included. Through the campaign we will be working with organisations and individuals at home and abroad, including the Holocaust Educational Trust, Jewish Museum, Community Security Trust, Kick It Out, World Jewish Congress, Anne Frank House and Maccabi GB.”
Club chairman Brice Buck leads a steering committee of experts.
Participants include Ronald Lauder (President, World Jewish Congress), Robert Singer (CEO World Jewish Congress), Cecilia Wikström (Member of European Parliament and Vice-Chair of the Parliament’s Working Group Against Antisemitism), Karen Pollock (Chief Executive, Holocaust Educational Trust), Abigail Morris (Chief Executive, Jewish Museum London), Dave Rich (Head of Policy, Community Security Trust), Jonathan Greenblatt (National Director and CEO, Anti-Defamation League) and Lord Peter Levene.
“The World Jewish Congress deeply appreciates the comprehensive efforts being made by Chelsea Football Club to raise awareness of the dangerous manifestations of antisemitism and racism in sport,” commented Mr Singer.
“The value of one of the most prominent sports clubs in the world vigorously leading the charge in addressing this crucial issue cannot be overstated.”
Ms Pollock added: “Sadly anti-semitism remains a serious issue in our society.
“Every effort made to fight it should be applauded and welcomed and we are delighted and proud to be working with Chelsea Football Club to ‘say no to antisemitism’.
“Hearing from a survivor, learning about the Holocaust and understanding what language constitutes hate speech all contribute to a better understanding and greater awareness of what antisemitism is and how to combat it.
“Through this initiative Chelsea are making a real commitment in fighting this issue within the game and the wider community.”
The initiative will see Chelsea Foundation’s equality and diversity workshops in primary schools extended to talk specifically about Jewish faith and culture.
And the club is to launch an education programme for supporters banned for antisemitic behaviour following a proposal raised a Fans’ Forum.
Participation will potentially lead to a reduction in the length of a ban.
Additional activities include educational visits to former concentration camps for staff, fans and stewards, an exhibition at the Chelsea Museum on football and British Jews and screenings of Liga Terezin, a documentary about a football league run from a concentration camp during the Holocaust.
The club is also hoping to welcome Holocaust survivor, Harry Spiro, to Chelsea to share his family’s story.