Chelsea will Send Racist Fans on Educational Trips to Auschwitz
Chelsea Football Club has announced a new initiative to send racist football fans on trips to the Auschwitz concentration camp as opposed to imposing stadium bans.
Chelsea’s owner Roman Abramovich is Jewish and is leading the initiative to tackle antisemitism amongst fans. The idea is to offer fans who are caught being racist or antisemitic the opportunity to be educated at the former Nazi concentration camp instead of just issuing stadium bans for Premier League games.
This new approach of tackling racism is aimed at changing the overall behavior and attitude of fans. Chelsea executives proposed the idea so that supporters understand the hurtful nature of their actions firsthand and are forced to learn in an educational context so that they learn and don’t repeat racist behavior.
Chelsea has been commended for leading the charge against antisemitism in English Premier League . In September of 2017, the club even publicly criticized several of their own fans for launching antisemitic chants against rivals Tottenham – a team with a well-known Jewish history.
This past April, the team sent a delegation to Auschwitz to commemorate the March of the Living – an annual educational program that brings individuals from around the globe to Poland and Israel to the study the Holocaust and to examine the causes of prejudice, intolerance, and hatred.
“If you just ban people, you will never change their behavior,” chairman Bruce Buck told the Sun newspaper. “This policy gives them the chance to realize what they have done, to make them want to behave better.”
Earlier this year, Chelsea FC launched a “Say No to Antisemitism” initiative as part of their ongoing work to combat racism and discrimination in sports. The campaign is part of an initiative between Chelsea, the World Jewish Congress, the Holocaust Educational Trust, the Jewish Museum, the Community Security Trust, Kick it Out, the Anne Frank House, and Maccabi Great Britain
As part of the initiative Chelsea and the aforementioned partners will be facilitating to visits to former concentration camps for both staff and fans alike, launch an exhibition at the Chelsea Museum on football and British Jews, and also screen Liga Terezin: a documentary about a football league run in the concentration camp Theresienstadt during the Holocaust.
In 2018, Chelsea and the World Jewish Congress also teamed up for the Pitch for Hope Competition. A competition which invited individuals between the ages of 18 and 30 in the US, UK, and Israel to submit ideas for projects aimed at combating the widespread phenomenon of anti-Semitism in sports.