Chelsea Football Club and the World Jewish Congress and have kicked off a strategic global partnership under the banner a ‘Red Card for Hate’, aimed at combating the widespread phenomenon of antisemitism in sports.
The joint initiative is made possible thanks to a special contribution from club owner Roman Abramovich and the World Jewish Congress, and will form part of the Say No To Antisemitism campaign launched by Chelsea in January (pictured above).
The Red Card for Hate initiative will take the form of three specific projects geared toward encouraging supporters, government officials and the public at large to treat antisemitism more seriously and to engage in discourse for effective action. The projects were designed by a WJC task force charged with analysing and understanding the challenges at hand and bringing educational solutions to the table.
The three-pronged initiative will begin at the end of April, with the Pitch for Hope Competition inviting students in the United States, the United Kingdom and Israel to submit their ideas for a project to harness the spirit of sport to combat antisemitism and build bridges between people of different religious, ethnic and national backgrounds.
Finalists will be invited to present their proposals at Stamford Bridge to a panel of judges representing Chelsea and WJC. The winners from each country will receive $10,000 (approx. £7000) from the two organisations to carry out their pilot project. The competition will also be launched in France and Germany at the end of the year, with additional countries following that.
In the second part of the initiative, Chelsea and WJC will produce a series of videos to raise awareness about the tangible effects of antisemitism and discrimination, to be rolled out over the course of the 2018/19 football season, both at games and on social media platforms.
In the third stage of the initiative, Chelsea and WJC will host a special forum in mid-2019 to bring together national football associations, football clubs, players, government officials and representatives of civil society to share best practices and create a fertile ground for discussion and collaboration, as well as create a network of dedicated people and organisations to enhance the fight against antisemitism in sports.
Roman Abramovich said: ‘Since we launched Chelsea’s antisemitism initiative, I have been very pleased with the positive response from our supporters and from the community as such. This partnership is the next step to increase our efforts and I am proud to be partnering with the World Jewish Congress, whose leadership and expertise in these issues are truly remarkable. I hope that our joint efforts will make a difference in combating antisemitism in the UK and elsewhere.’
WJC president Ronald S Lauder said: ‘The World Jewish Congress is proud to partner with Chelsea FC and its owner Roman Abramovich in this critical endeavour to pull a red card on the demonstrations of hatred, antisemitism and threats of violence running rampant in sports stadiums across the world.’
WJC CEO and executive vice-president Robert Singer said: ‘We applaud Chelsea for taking the courageous lead in addressing this epidemic and urge other sports clubs, federations and associations to follow its example by putting words into action to enforce a zero-tolerance approach to hate and educate others about its dangers. The road ahead won’t be easy, but I am confident that working together we will succeed in kicking antisemitism off the field once and for all.’