Top-flight English soccer side Chelsea and the World Jewish Congress (WJC) have announced a strategic global partnership to combat anti-Semitism in sport.
Under the banner of ‘Red Card for Hate’, the joint initiative will form part of the ‘Say no to anti-Semitism’ campaign launched by the Premier League club in January.
The Red Card for Hate initiative will take the form of three specific projects designed by the WJC aimed at encouraging supporters, government officials and the general public to treat anti-Semitism more seriously and engage in discourse for effective action.
The campaign will kick off at the end of April with the Pitch for Hope Competition, inviting students in the US, UK and Israel to pitch ideas for a project to use the spirit of sport to tackle anti-Semitism. Finalists will be invited to Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge home to present their proposals, with the winner set to be given US$10,000 to implement their project.
Chelsea and the WJC will also collaborate on a series of videos to raise awareness about the tangible effects of anti-Semitism and discrimination. The content will be rolled out during the 2018/19 season at games and on social media.
Finally, the two parties will host a special forum in 2019 to bring together national soccer associations, clubs, players and government officials to enhance the fight against anti-Semitism in sport.
“Since we launched Chelsea’s anti-Semitism initiative, I have been very pleased with the positive response from our supporters and from the community as such,” said Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich. “This partnership is the next step to increase our efforts and I am proud to be partnering with the World Jewish Congress, whose leadership and expertise in these issues are truly remarkable. I hope that our joint efforts will make a difference in combating anti-Semitism in the UK and elsewhere.”
WJC president Ronald Lauder said: “The World Jewish Congress is proud to partner with Chelsea FC and its owner Roman Abramovich in this critical endeavour to pull a red card on the demonstrations of hatred, antisemitism and threats of violence running rampant in sports stadiums across the world.”
“We applaud Chelsea for taking the courageous lead in addressing this epidemic and urge other sports clubs, federations and associations to follow its example by putting words into action to enforce a zero-tolerance approach to hate and educate others about its dangers,” added Robert Singer, chief executive and vice president of the WJC. “The road ahead won’t be easy, but I am confident that working together we will succeed in kicking anti-Semitism off the field once and for all.”
Chelsea are fifth in the Premier League, and will be aiming to close the gap on fourth-place Tottenham Hotspur when they travel to play Swansea City on Saturday.