Chairman Bruce Buck and Chelsea Women manager Emma Hayes travelled to the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation on Tuesday morning to take part in a policy seminar to discuss the power of sport.
Buck and Hayes joined Vince Gennaro, Associate Dean of the NYU School of Professional Studies Tisch Institute for Sports Management, Media and Business, and Ronit Glasman of the Israeli Football Association, for the four-person panel with, among other things, our ‘Say No To Antisemitism’ campaign and how to improve women’s football in Israel discussed.
Founded in 1996 by the late President of Israel, Shimon Peres, the Peres Center shares many of the same values as Chelsea and our Foundation, implementing impactful and meaningful programs both through sport and other means In Israel.
Prior to the policy seminar beginning there were introductions from Peres Center chairman Chemi Peres, the son of the Center’s founder, and the Israeli Football Association’s CEO, Rotem Kamer, while Buck also spoke at length about the reason for Chelsea Women’s visit to Israel.
Speaking at the event Buck said: ‘Coming here was an idea that germinated four or five months ago and it took a lot of effort to bring so many staff and the players here and do so much during the stay.
‘People often pose the question, ‘what does a football club know about bringing people together?’ There are two aspects to that, firstly on the football pitch but secondly, and this is what Chelsea and the Chelsea Foundation do so well, using the power of football.
‘The challenge with everything, including the Say No To Antisemitism campaign, is trying to establish if you’ve made a difference. The way we look at it is if we just move the needle a little bit and start to see change.
‘Our process has always been education, education, education and some day we will have made an impact.
‘Mr Abramovich also has another interest and that is inspiring women and promoting women’s football and that is really what this trip is about. We have dealt with lots of organisations through the antisemitism campaign so it was a great opportunity to bring the women’s team here and promote both elements.’
There was also a presentation from the Peres Centre on their work with the Israeli FA on an initiative called ‘Playing Fair - Leading peace’, and an inspirational talk from Tamara Jiryis, one of the young leaders on the programme.
The event concluded with a closing statement from Lord Stuart Polak before Hayes and Buck spent time talking with the guests in attendance.
Chelsea have been in Israel for a specially arranged friendly with the national team to celebrate women’s football and support further development of the sport in the country.
The match took place at Ha-Moshava Stadium and was sponsored by the Chelsea owner and the Israeli FA. The Blues finished their pre-season campaign with a 3-1 victory.