WJC and Chelsea football club hope to kick out antisemitism in sports
The joint initiative will form part of the Say No To Antisemitism campaign launched by Chelsea in January at Stamford Bridge, in the presence of 40,000 fans.
“The Red Card for Hate” initiative will take the form of three specific projects geared toward encouraging supporters, government officials and the public at large to treat antisemitism more seriously and to engage in discourse for effective action.
The projects were designed by a WJC task force charged with analyzing and understanding the challenges at hand and bringing educational solutions to the table.
WJC President Ronald Lauder said that the “World Jewish Congress is proud to partner with Chelsea F.C. and its owner Roman Abramovich in this critical endeavor to pull a red card on the demonstrations of hatred, antisemitism, and threats of violence running rampant in sports stadiums across the world.”
The three-pronged initiative will begin at the end of April, with the Pitch for Hope Competition inviting students in the United States, the United Kingdom and Israel to submit their ideas for a project to harness the spirit of sport to combat antisemitism and build bridges between people of different religious, ethnic and national backgrounds.
Finalists will then be invited to present their proposals at Stamford Bridge to a panel of judges representing WJC and Chelsea.
The winners from each country will receive $10,000 from the two organizations to carry out their pilot project. The competition will also be launched in France and Germany at the end of the year, and additional countries following that.
As part of the second component of the initiative, WJC and Chelsea will produce a series of videos to raise awareness about the tangible effects of antisemitism and discrimination, to be rolled out over the course of the 2018/2019 season – both at games and on social media platforms.
While during the third stage of the initiative, WJC and Chelsea will host a special forum in mid-2019 to bring together national football associations, football clubs, players, government officials, and representatives of civil society to share best practices and create a fertile ground for discussion and collaboration, as well as create a network of dedicated people and organizations to enhance the fight against antisemitism in sports.
“Since we launched Chelsea’s antisemitism initiative, I have been very pleased with the positive response from our supporters and from the community as such,” said Chelsea FC owner, Roman Abramovich.
“This partnership is the next step to increase our efforts and I am proud to be partnering with the World Jewish Congress, whose leadership and expertise in these issues are truly remarkable.
I hope that our joint efforts will make a difference in combating antisemitism in the UK and elsewhere.”