In January 2018, Chelsea Football Club announced a new campaign to raise awareness of and educate our players, staff, fans and the wider community about antisemitism in football.
The long-term initiative forms part of our on-going inclusion work, through the Chelsea Foundation’s Building Bridges campaign. The initiative is supported by the club’s owner, Roman Abramovich.
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 are working with organisations and individuals at home and abroad, including the Holocaust Educational Trust, the Jewish Museum, the Community Security Trust, Kick It Out, the World Jewish Congress, the Anne Frank House and Maccabi GB.
We have also established a steering committee of leading experts who are supporting us in developing this campaign. The committee is led by Chelsea Chairman Bruce Buck, and includes:
- Ronald Lauder, President, World Jewish Congress
- Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice-Chairman, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
- Robert Singer, CEO and Executive Vice-President, World Jewish Congress
- Cecilia Wikström, Member of European Parliament, 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
- Lord Peter Levene, Lord Mayor of London 1998-1999
Through working with a range of partners, Chelsea will be taking a lead on raising awareness of antisemitism and its impact on the Jewish community and society as a whole, demonstrating that the club is welcoming to all.
As part of this work, the Chelsea Foundation’s equality and diversity workshops in primary schools is extended to talk specifically about Jewish faith and culture. Following a proposal raised at our Fans’ Forum, the club is launching an education programme for supporters banned for antisemitic behaviour, as well as helping them to understand the impact of their actions, with participation in the course potentially leading to a reduction in the length of their ban.
Additional activities taking place 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.
We welcomed Holocaust survivor, Harry Spiro, to Cobham to share his and his family’s story with our players and coaching staff.
That was followed by a visit to Stamford Bridge from another survivor, Mala Tribich MBE, who discussed her experiences with a gathering of our supporters.
The World Jewish Congress gave their backing to the campaign. Robert Singer, CEO and Executive Vice-President, said:
‘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. 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.’
Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust said:
‘Sadly antisemitism 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.’
Other activities since the campaign launched have been a group of representatives from the club attending the annual March of the Living between the concentration and extermination camps at Auschwitz and Birkenau, which was followed by the club taking supporters on an educational visit to those camps.