Chelsea to mark Holocaust Memorial Day with tribute before Wolves match

Chelsea will mark Holocaust Memorial Day before kick-off in Wednesday's Premier League clash with Wolves at Stamford Bridge; tribute will highlight the stories of 20 sportsmen and women, 17 of Jewish heritage, who were killed by the Nazis

General view of Chelsea's Stamford Bridge stadium (PA image)
Image: Chelsea will mark Holocaust Memorial Day as part of their 'Say No To Anti-Semitism' campaign

Roman Abramovich has revealed his motivation to fight anti-Semitism at Chelsea stemmed from wanting the club to be "welcoming to everyone".

Owner Abramovich's rare personal insight comes as Chelsea launch the latest initiative in their long-running 'Say No To Anti-Semitism' campaign.

Chelsea will mark Holocaust Memorial Day before kick-off in Wednesday's Premier League clash with Wolves at Stamford Bridge.

The club will highlight the stories of 20 sportsmen and women, 17 of Jewish heritage, who were killed by the Nazis.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich (AP image)
Image: Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich says he has always wanted to make the club 'welcoming to everyone'

Wednesday's pre-match light display will form part of the club's wider '49 Flames' project, paying tribute to the number of Olympians known to have been killed in Nazi concentration camps.

Ahead of the display, Chelsea's Russian owner has moved to explain just why he continues to be so passionate about the club's anti-Semitism campaign, that has now been running for three years.

"When I first came to Chelsea, I had two ambitions: to create world-class teams on the pitch; and to ensure the club plays a positive role in all of its communities, using football as a vehicle to inspire and engage people around the issues that matter," Abramovich told Chelsea's official club website.

Members of Chelsea Women partake in the club's marking of Holocaust Memorial Day (credit: Chelsea Football Club Foundation)
Image: Members of Chelsea Women partake in the club's marking of Holocaust Memorial Day (credit: Chelsea Football Club Foundation)

"It has always been important to me to create a club that is welcoming to everyone. We actively celebrate our cultural and religious diversity and, through the work of the Chelsea Foundation, deliver programmes to promote equality and tackle discrimination all over the world.

"Nonetheless, we are all too often reminded there is more to be done. Three years ago, we launched the 'Say No to Anti Semitism' campaign. I am incredibly proud about the amount of progress we have made and the impact we have had since we started, and I am thankful for all the support from Chelsea fans who have taken this campaign to heart.

"This exhibition is the latest initiative within our 'Say No to Anti-Semitism' campaign and tells the story of the Holocaust through the eyes of Jewish athletes from all over the world.

"I hope these stories will serve both as a reminder of the atrocities suffered during the Holocaust and also as an inspiration to all of us to do our utmost to prevent them from ever happening again.

Chelsea's Stamford Bridge
Image: There will be a light display at Stamford Bridge ahead of Wednesday's match with Wolves

"We can all do something to challenge discrimination at our club, in our communities and in the world around us. With your help, Chelsea can play a leading role in this vital work and demonstrate that we truly are a club open to all."

British-Israeli street artist Solomon Souza has collaborated with Chelsea for the '49 Flames' project, just as he did when creating a giant mural at Stamford Bridge last year.

The virtual exhibition will be followed up by a physical art installation at Stamford Bridge, that supporters will be able to visit once Government coronavirus regulations allow.

Chelsea have also produced a coffee table book, which will be available to pre-order from the club's megastore on Wednesday.

FA join campaign to tackle discrimination

The Football Association has officially adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance [IHRA] working definition of anti-Semitism, as part of its ongoing commitment to tackling all forms of discrimination both on and off the pitch.

The definition has been adopted by the European Parliament and the governments of over 30 countries, including the UK, and The FA will join a number of clubs and organisations across English football in adopting the definition across all of its operations, ensuring there is a consistent view across the game about conduct or comments that may be deemed anti-Semitic.

The IHRA's working definition of antisemitism states: "Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities."

Bayern Munich will also adopt the IRHA definition to strengthen their culture of remembrance. This definition was adopted by the European Parliament. In 2017, the German Bundestag followed suit, followed by the Bavarian State Government. In Bavaria, the definition is considered a working basis for the Bavarian judicial system.

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