Chelsea Football Club is to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism, becoming the first sports team in the world to do so.
It is the latest gesture of goodwill from the club, whose Jewish Russian owner Roman Abramovich launched Chelsea’s ‘So No to Antisemitism’ campaign in early 2018.
Chelsea said once it had adopted the IHRA definition, it would train its stewards and supporters as to its interpretation and significance.
“We believe that adopting the IHRA definition is an important statement for our football club,” said Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck.
“Although we have been working in accordance with these guidelines for many years now, we hope that by formalising the IHRA classification, we can further tackle antisemitism and discrimination through better understanding and education.
“Football has an unrivalled ability to do good in society, and we must harness this power to tackle all forms of discrimination in the stands and our communities.”
The definition has now been adopted or endorsed by 18 countries, including the UK, and Dr Kathrin Meyer, IHRA executive secretary, commended Chelsea’s decision because “football is such a critical part of communities around the world”.
She said: “Given the significance of football, it is vital that clubs like Chelsea… demonstrate their commitment to fighting antisemitism so that football continues to be a source of enjoyment and pride, not exclusion and hatred.”
Association of Jewish Refugees Chief Executive Michael Newman said: “We warmly congratulate Chelsea Football Club for their commitment to combatting antisemitism by adopting the authoritative IHRA working definition, and continuing to lead the fight to address the worrying trend of anti-Jewish hatred in football and society.”
Following suit, West Ham FC announced on Friday its decision to adopt the definition. The club will mark Holocaust Memorial Day at London Stadium before a fixture against Liverpool on 29 January.