LONDON (Parlay Game) – Gathered with his Chelsea Directors, Roman Abramovich ended the discussion on football to raise serious concerns.
It was in November 2017 and Abramovich was alarmed by the upsurge of anti-Semitic incidents, particularly in Britain – and even in his own stadium. Rather than focusing solely on trophies, the Jewish owner of the Premier League club thought that Chelsea could be a force for social change, transforming the minority of assailing fans at Stamford Bridge.
"We're just sitting, talking … and he's been talking about what he's been aware of and what's bothering him," Bruce Buck, president of Chelsea, said in an interview with the Associated Press. "And everyone said that he was someone who can do something. about that."
For more than a year, Chelsea has been working with Jewish organizations to harness the power and influence of the world's greatest sport to promote a more inclusive environment in games and, more broadly, to educate new generations. the murder of six million Jews in the Holocaust. .
A group of the club, including players from the academy, visited the Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz. Harry Spiro, a survivor of the Holocaust, spoke to the first horror team at the Buchenwald and Theresienstadt camps.
"I thought they'd be on their iPhone," Buck remembers. "He told his story for about 45 minutes and all the players and coaches were fascinated."
Before Holocaust Memorial Day last month, players including Edenic danger, were featured in a video urging the world, "We remember".
"These are models," Buck said, "so we hope some of these stupid fans, and a few, realize that these are my models."
It is a work in progress that has several levels of complexity.
UEFA discipline officials will decide on Thursday how to punish Chelsea for anti-Semitic chants uttered by supporters during a Europa League match in Hungary in December against Vidi. Chelsea could be forced to play a game in camera without any fan.
Chelsea fans chanted "Yid," a pejorative term for Jews. What complicates things is the fact that fans of his rival Crosstown Tottenham, which has traditionally attracted a large number of fans among London's Jewish communities, is called "Yid's army". For decades, the word "Y" has been used as a call to arms by Tottenham supporters.
But when Chelsea fans pitched the Y-word, especially in the Tottenham games, whistles mimicking the Nazi gas chambers also took place. While Chelsea welcomed his London rival Wednesday night in the Premier League, new warnings were issued for fans to eliminate anti-Semitism that tarnished the derbies of the past.
"There is a particular problem with the Y word," Buck said. "We believe that the use of the word Y by Spurs supporters, or by anyone, wrong. It's very confusing … because UEFA thinks it's wrong and makes our fans pay. … We try to say that there should be no ban. "
In 2014, London metropolitan police backed away from the threat of stopping the Tottenham fans for using the word-word. But Chelsea fans could be arrested.
"The police have a particular problem: if you have the fans of the 3,000 Spurs who chant it, how do you get 3,000 people out of the stadium? I respect that, "said Buck. "They can say that they're just not going to stop and sue because it's too difficult or whatever, but they should not say it's okay to say that." . "
Chelsea's paradox in leading a campaign against anti-Semitism – with special attention to his own fans – is that his Jewish owner has transformed the club since its purchase in 2003. Under Abramovich's leadership, Chelsea has Ended 50 years of drought at the English championships in 2005 and won five Premier League titles, the 2012 UEFA Champions League, the 2013 Europa League, five FA Cups and three League Cups.
The British Abramovich visa expired last April in a dispute between Britain and Colombia. Russia which followed the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Salisbury. Chelsea has maintained the campaign against anti-Semitism in his absence.
"It will not stop Chelsea from doing what's right, what's working and what's good for the world," Buck said. "We have a little more money to spend thanks to Mr. Abramovich's kindness and it's one of the many things we do."
Abramovich's inability to attend Chelsea's home games sparked speculation about his ownership.
"All I know is that he loves football and the Chelsea football club," Buck said, "and that he's trying to do good things with the club that's going on." He owns. "
This is appreciated by the World Jewish Congress, especially by rallying support from national leaders.
"When you talk to them about the project we are doing here," WJC general manager Robert Singer told Buck in an interview in London, "Chelsea suddenly became the focus of the discussion. "
Chelsea is a visible part of a capital where anti-Semitism is reborn. The Community Security Trust recorded a 16% increase in the number of incidents by 16% last year. Just last week, eight members of the House of Commons resigned from the Labor Party, the main opposition party, citing chief of their leaders, Jeremy Corbyn, for failing to eliminate the government. anti-Semitism within the party.
"What is happening in the world, but also here in Europe, is inexplicable, incredible and dramatic and needs the attention of governments," said Singer, "as well as from leaders like Chelsea."
Chelsea uses its platform online and in stadiums on match days to campaign against racism and urge supporters to report abuse. Buck hopes to reap up to $ 4 million for the campaign. The Chelsea game, to be held later this year in the Boston suburbs, will be a way to raise public awareness. Revolution of New England.
"In Chelsea, we have had several incidents over the last year and we are trying to manage them appropriately," said Buck. "Historically, football clubs if the fans did something wrong or if we just rejected them or banned them. … Education is the only way for us to make a real sprain. "