Chelsea F.C. is ready to follow through on a threat made earlier this year to send anti-Semitic supporters to visit Nazi extermination camp Auschwitz instead of banning them from the club.
Players and the club’s support staff will also be part of the plan.
The long-term initiative began on 31 January at Chelsea’s Premier League game against Bournemouth and forms part of what the club describes as “on-going inclusion work”, through the Chelsea Foundation’s Building Bridges campaign. The initiative is supported by the club’s Jewish owner, Roman Abramovich.
Chelsea Chairman Bruce Buck told the Sun newspaper: “If you just ban people, you will never change their behaviour. This policy gives them the chance to realise what they have done, to make them want to behave better.
“In the past we would take them from the crowd and ban them, for up to three years. Now we say: ‘You did something wrong. You have the option. We can ban you or you can spend some time with our diversity officers, understanding what you did wrong.’”
The football club criticised a number of its own fans for anti-Semitic chanting in 2017.
On that occasion, anti-Semitic chants by Chelsea F.C. fans during their win at Leicester had to be condemned by the club.
As Breitbart Jerusalem reported, on that occasion Blues supporters repeated a song about Alvaro Morata previously used to abuse London rivals Tottenham, who have a large Jewish fanbase.
“Alvaro, Alvaro. He comes from Madrid. He hates the f****** Yids,” sang Chelsea supporters at the King Power Stadium.
“The club and the players appreciate the fans’ passionate support away from home, of course,” Chelsea head of communications Steve Atkins said in that game’s aftermath. “But the language in that song is not acceptable at all.”
The club also took to Twitter to address the problem:
— Liam Twomey (@liam_twomey) September 9, 2017
In June an official trip of 150 fans plus club employees went to Poland to visit the Nazi death camp.
The World Jewish Congress, the Holocaust Education Trust and leading Jewish scholar Rabbi Barry Marcus have all backed the initiative.
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