Chelsea Football Club last night previewed our latest film to tackle the dangers of antisemitism to a distinguished audience in the Houses of Parliament.
The hard-hitting film has been written and produced by renowned writer Ivor Baddiel and is intended to make fans aware of the consequences of antisemitic behaviour and its effect on the Jewish fans and the wider community as a whole.
Featuring BBC Radio 2 news presenter Jeremy Vine and former Chelsea FC Women’s striker Eni Aluko, the film intersperses real footage of fans making antisemitic chants, gestures and social media posts, alongside images from the Holocaust. The film delivering an unequivocal and stark message that, while football is full of debate, there cannot be any doubt that antisemitism has no place in football or in our communities.
Following last night’s preview the film will be adapted to be used as a resource for Kick It Out’s leading work tackling discrimination and encouraging fans to report any instances of antisemitism they witness.
Last night’s event at Speaker’s House was hosted by MP John Mann, who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group against Antisemitism, with other notable guests including Sports Minister Tracey Crouch, Speaker of the House John Bercow and World Jewish Congress CEO Robert Singer.
After the film had been aired, Chelsea Chairman Bruce Buck joined Crouch, Mann, Baddiel, Holocaust Educational Trust CEO Karen Pollock and Community Security Trust Communications Director Dave Rich for a panel discussion about the issue.
Bruce Buck said: ‘Chelsea and the Chelsea Foundation do a lot of good work in the community but a little while ago Mr. Abramovich came to us and asked us to do something a little more aggressive and intensive to tackle antisemitism. Since then and over the last year we have hosted a lot of events and worked tirelessly to do this.
‘This event at Parliament is another of those events and it is an exciting one as we have the Speaker of the House and Sports Minister in attendance and we showed a video we have prepared to assist us in the campaign moving forward. There was then a panel session to discuss the next steps so it has been an interesting evening for all in attendance.
‘We are just trying to make a dent in the antisemitism in this world. We won’t be able to move the needle entirely but hopefully this will allow us to engage with other football clubs, other sports clubs and more people and over time we hope to make a real contribution for good to society.’
MP John Mann added: ‘We have been assisting Chelsea since the club launched this brilliant initiative and I am delighted it can come to Parliament to give it some prestige but also some additional publicity across the football world and world of politics.
‘What we hope is other clubs look at what Chelsea are doing and then think about what they could be doing. We in Parliament can salute that Chelsea, of their own free will, has chosen under no pressure from anyone to make this initiative. It is a bold statement, it’s an inclusive statement, and we really welcome it.
‘For it to be a club like Chelsea, from the Premier League, from London, will resonate across the world. It is a powerful statement.’
The film will also provide additional resources as part of Chelsea’s ‘Say No To Antisemitism’ campaign.
It will form a central piece of our stewards’ training programme in addition to the guide on antisemitism created earlier in the year, as well as contributing to our restorative justice programme, which educates fans found guilty of using antisemitic language or behaviour about the impact of their actions
It will also be a vital component of our work with secondary schools and colleges to educate older pupils and adult learners about equality and the dangers of antisemitism.
Commenting on her role in the film, Aluko, who currently plays for Juventus in Italy, said: ‘The problem of antisemitism in football isn’t as widely discussed as it should be. But Chelsea’s ‘Say No To Antisemitism’ campaign is shining a spotlight on the issue, and this hard-hitting film will play a big part in that.
‘Jewish people have always been part of the football community, on and off the pitch, so it's essential we talk about antisemitism and the impact it can have on the Jewish community, the game and society as a whole. I’m proud to play my part in that conversation.’