Chelsea FC create Jewish supporters group, following Arsenal and Watford

The club has become the third major football team to announce a Jewish support group for fans


MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 12: Enzo Fernandez of Chelsea in action during the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal first leg match between Real Madrid and Chelsea FC at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on April 12, 2023 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Flor Tan Jun/Getty Images)

Chelsea FC have become the latest football club to launch a group for Jewish fans of the team, announcing the move just in time for Rosh Hashanah.

The group, set up and run by Chelsea fans, will “bring supporters together to celebrate Jewish culture and identity, and work closely with the club on initiatives and campaigns to help ensure Chelsea FC is a welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone”, the club said.

Arsenal FC and Watford FC have both recently set up groups of their own to celebrate and bring together their Jewish supporters.

A message on the official Chelsea FC website said: “To celebrate Rosh Hashanah, Jewish New Year, we are delighted to launch Chelsea Football Club’s Jewish Supporters Group, with the opportunity to become a member already open.”

The formation of the group is the latest demonstration from Chelsea of its determination to stamp out antisemitism in the sport. It follows the launch of Say No To Antisemitism, an anti-racism campaign focusing on education, in 2021.

Stephen Nelken, founder of Chelsea FC’s Jewish Supporters Group, said: “As a lifelong Chelsea fan, I have been impressed and proud of the work the club has done to combat antisemitism and discrimination.

“The intention in founding this group is to celebrate Jewish identity, support the excellent work the club is doing and encourage like-minded fans to come together to support Chelsea.”

He added, “We are hopeful we can provide a voice for Jewish fans all over the world.”

The Jewish Supporters Group will hold its first official event to celebrate Chanukah on December 11 at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea supporters of all backgrounds and faiths, alongside key figures within the Jewish community, will be welcomed.

Lord Daniel Finkelstein, chairman of the club's charitable arm, the Chelsea Foundation, said: “Football and faith bring people together and we are excited to provide a forum for our Jewish supporters to connect and celebrate their religion and culture together.

“Chelsea FC and Chelsea Foundation have long been committed to ridding football and society of antisemitism through our award-winning Say No To Antisemitism and No To Hate campaigns.

"This group is another example of the club and foundation working with our supporters to help promote tolerance and understanding in football and beyond.”

Lord John Mann, the UK Government’s independent adviser on antisemitism, said: “The [supporters] group will provide a brilliant opportunity for Jewish fans to celebrate their culture whilst enjoying the sport they love.

“Chelsea have been pioneering in their efforts and dedication to eradicating antisemitism from football and society, and the creation of this group is another example of that. I would urge other clubs to follow their example and celebrate their Jewish supporters.”

Luisa Gottardo, a committee member of the Jewish Supporters Group, added: “One of the exciting elements of this is that we have no idea how many people will sign up.

“We will see just how many Jewish Chelsea fans there are out there, and who might also be looking [to meet] other Jewish fans. We hope there will be a great uptake.”

Those interested in joining the group can visit the football club's official website.

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