Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has vowed to do all he can to stamp out the “evil” of racism in football after speaking of his shock at the abuse some of the club’s players receive.
The Russian-Jewish tycoon spoke out amid mounting concern over the online attacks on footballers, which included Blues full-back Reece James being targeted on Instagram earlier this year.
Abramovich has funded the club’s “No To Hate” campaign in response to the abuse James and other players have received, and has reiterated his intention to stamp out discrimination.
This comes after Chelsea launched a ‘Say No to Antisemitism Campaign’ in January 2018.
He told Forbes magazine: “Racism, antisemitism, this is all the same type of evil and should have no place on our world at this day and age.
“Every time I get sent examples of racist abuse that our players face, I am shocked. It’s disgraceful that this is the reality for not just our players, but for anyone targeted by this sort of abuse.
“If we as a club can make a difference in this area, in fighting antisemitism, racism and promoting tolerance, I am determined to stand behind it and contribute in whatever way I can.”
In the rare interview, Abramovich spoke of his belief that women’s football can be just as lucrative as the men’s game if it is given the same financial backing.
Reigning champions Chelsea currently top the Women’s Super League and under manager Emma Hayes have won the League Cup and reached the Champions League quarter-finals, where they will face German side Wolfsburg this month.
Abramovich said: “I see no reason why clubs wouldn’t want to support women’s football and provide the best possible opportunity for them to succeed.
“For me, this is both about the principle, but also, women’s football has huge potential. If women’s football received the same level as support as men’s football, the sport would obviously be equally successful on the business side.
“And I think investment pays off. I think their success demonstrates what can be achieved when you dedicate resources and the right leadership. Emma Hayes has been remarkable in her work with the team.”
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.