Chelsea’s owner dedicated Wednesday’s Premier League match to “victims of the Holocaust and to the Jewish community”, as the club launched an initiative to combat anti-Semitism.
The owner was joined by Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Israel’s Ambassador to the U.K., Mark Regev, and international Jewish representatives, as the London club launched its campaign against Bournemouth on Wednesday night.
Chelsea dedicated the pre-match ceremony at Stamford Bridge to the scheme, unfurling a banner which read ‘Say No To Antisemitism’, before kick off. Match-day programmes featured the initiative prominently, with the cover showing Chelsea stars Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kanté holding up signs opposing racism, and the club’s Russian billionaire owner writing about it in the booklet.
Writing to Chelsea fans, the Jewish tycoon said;
“At the start of 2018, I am reminded of the important milestones we have achieved together as a club since 2003.
It has always been important to me to create a club that is welcoming to everyone. We actively celebrate our cultural and religious diversity and, through the work of the Chelsea Foundation, deliver programmes to promote equality and tackle discrimination all over the world. However, we are all too often reminded there is more to be done.
Tonight’s game is an important one. On 27 January, the world observed Holocaust Memorial Day. The Holocaust was a crime without parallel in history. We must never forget such atrocities and must do our utmost to prevent them from ever happening again. It is my honour to dedicate this match to the victims of the Holocaust and to the Jewish community.
This evening I am proud to launch an initiative to raise awareness of and to tackle antisemitism in all its forms, and hope to have your support for this work.
This is the start of an important journey and we all have a part to play. We can all do something to challenge discrimination at our club as well as within the world around us. With your help, Chelsea can play a leading role in this vital area of work and demonstrate to everybody that we are a club open to all.
Well done to Chelsea Football Club for launching their #SayNoToAntisemitism campaign.Video credit: Chelsea Football Club#AntiSemitism #ChristiansAgainstAntiSemitism #CUFI
Posted by Christians United for Israel – UK on Wednesday, 31 January 2018
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis praised Chelsea Football Club for being “courageous enough to publicly acknowledge they have a problem. I think that all clubs have a problem , but Chelsea have acknowledged that and have said let’s develop a strategy and not just an ordinary strategy, but a brave strategy. One which is comprehensive, one which will educate and inform and inspire players and supporters will a whole raft of educational initiatives.
“I’m exceptionally impressed and I hope that other clubs will follow suit. Clubs worldwide. This is a very impressive initiative.”