Chelsea Football Club has launched a new campaign, aimed at raising awareness of anti-Semitism to its players, fans and staff.
Set to launch ahead of their Premier League game against Bournemouth on 31 January, the initiative, which is supported by the club’s billionaire owner Roman Abramovich, is part of the club’s on-going inclusion work, through the Chelsea Foundation’s Building Bridges campaign.
A club statement read: “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, the Jewish Museum, the Community Security Trust, Kick It Out, the World Jewish Congress and the Anne Frank House.
A committee of experts will be leading the campaign, and led by club Chairman Bruce Buck, includes President and CEO and Executive Vice-President of World Jewish Congress (WJC), Ronald Lauder, President, Robert Singer, CEO and Executive Vice-President of WJC and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice-Chairman, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organisations.
Other leaders include Cecilia Wikström, Member of European Parliament, Vice-Chair of the Parliament’s Working Group Against Antisemitism, Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive, Holocaust Educational Trust, Abigail Morris, Chief Executive of the Jewish Museum in London, Dave Rich, Head of Policy at the Community Security Trust, Jonathan Greenblatt, National Director and CEO at the Anti-Defamation League and Lord Peter Levene, Lord Mayor of London 1998-1999.
Pollock 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.”
Giving their backing to the campaign,The World Jewish Congress 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.”
As part of the initiative,the Chelsea Foundation’s equality and diversity workshops in primary schools will be extended to talk specifically about Jewish faith and culture, while additional activities taking place throughout the year will also 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 are hoping to welcome Holocaust survivor, Harry Spiro, to Chelsea to share with us his and his family’s story.