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Roman Abramovich backs Chelsea campaign to tackle antisemitism

The Jewish owner of the club dedicated tonight's game to 'the victims of the Holocaust and to the Jewish community'

    Roman Abramovich, the Jewish owner of Chelsea, has officially launched a campaign to “raise awareness of” antisemitism and to “tackle it in all its forms”.

    Writing in tonight’s match programme, Mr Abramovich dedicated the game “to the victims of the Holocaust and to the Jewish community”.

    “On January 27, the world observed Holocaust Memorial Day,” he continued.

    “The Holocaust was a crime without parallel in history. We must never forget such atrocities and must do our utmost to prevent them from ever happening again.”

    Chelsea fans have repeatedly been accused of antisemitic remarks, gestures and chants, often when the team plays Tottenham Hotspur, which is known to have a large number of Jewish fans.

    In 2013, Yossi Benayoun, the Israeli midfielder who played for Chelsea, said the abuse from fans of his own side was the worst he had experienced in his career.

    The new initiative will see the Premier League champions work with groups including the Holocaust Educational Trust, the Jewish Museum, the Community Security Trust (CST), Kick It Out, the World Jewish Congress, the Anne Frank House, and Maccabi GB.

    A large “say no to antisemitism” banner was displayed on the pitch at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea’s ground, before kick-off for the match against Bournemouth. The Chief Rabbi attended the match and met Mr Abramovich.

    Jeff Mostyn, Bournemouth’s chairman, who is also Jewish, pledged support for the campaign, saying: “We are proud to support Chelsea’s campaign to raise awareness of and educate people about antisemitism.

    “We believe that football is for all and people from every walk of life should feel safe and comfortable attending matches.”

    “This is an excellent initiative and, as part of the Jewish community, I am proud that Chelsea’s campaign is being launched today for our visit to Stamford Bridge.”

    Mr Abramovich’s statement continued by saying: “We can all do something to challenge discrimination at our club as well as within the world around us.

    “With your help, Chelsea can play a leading role in this vital area of work and demonstrate to everybody that we are a club open to all.”

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