Israeli ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, Chelsea FC Director Eugene Tenenbaum and Rola Brentlin, Chelsea FC’s Say No to Antisemitism Campaign, 2019..
(photo credit: SHAHAR AZRAN / WJC)
Chelsea Football Club celebrated the first anniversary of its global campaign against antisemitism on Monday night in Tel Aviv with UN ambassadors from around the world, led by Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon.
The idea for the campaign, titled "Say No to Antisemitism," first came from Russian-Israeli owner of the team Roman Abramovich, who suggested that a more intense approach to antisemitism is a necessary move for the club. The project is in affiliation with the World Jewish Congress.
Abramovich's idea stimulated the team to take "a comprehensive approach to tackling antisemitism
," according to Chelsea Football Club Chairman Bruce Buck in an October interview with The Jerusalem Post
The project has no deadline as the team plans on fighting antisemitism as long as it takes.
The team faced an uphill battle in mid-January when they were expected to face disciplinary action over alleged antisemitic chanting
by their supporters, according to UEFA.
This did not stop Chelsea FC from using their platform, as well as the already-existing campaign, to show their supporters that there is a better way. "People have been saying things that they have been thinking for many years, but never spoke out loud until now," said Buck, who blamed the rise in antisemitism on populism.
Former Chelsea player and current Ligue 1 AS Monaco FC player Cesc Fàbregas told the Post
, "It doesn't matter where you're from, we are all different and we have to respect each other, and that is the real truth."
During the Monday evening event hosted in Tel Aviv by Chelsea FC, the UN ambassadors were presented with the work of the club in the past year, as well as the plans within the campaign for the coming year.
Later this year, Chelsea plans on playing against the US New England Revolution team in a friendly match as part of the campaign, with Abramovich and New England Revolution owner Robert Kraft contributing $1 million each to the campaign.