British Football Club Chelsea Condemns Own Fans Over Antisemitic Chant
by Barney Breen-Portnoy
The British football club Chelsea has condemned a group of its fans who sang an antisemitic chant during a road match in Budapest on Thursday.
The chant was heard during a 2-2 draw against Vidi at Groupama Arena in the Hungarian capital.
A statement issued by Chelsea — which is owned by Russian-Israeli Jewish billionaire Roman Abramovich — said:
Antisemitism and any other kind of race-related or religious hatred is abhorrent to this club and the overwhelming majority of our fans. It has no place at Chelsea or in any of our communities.
We have stated this loud and clear on many occasions from the owner, the board, coaches and players.
Any individuals that can’t summon the brainpower to comprehend this simple message and are found to have shamed the club by used using antisemitic or racist words or actions will face the strongest possible action from the club.
The words of the chant sung by the fans are, “’Barcelona, Real Madrid, Tottenham are a bunch of Yids … Yiddos.”
The incident came only five days after several Chelsea fans shouted racist abuse at Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling during a 2-0 home victory at Stamford Bridge.
Earlier this year, Chelsea announced a “Say No to Antisemitism” campaign to “raise awareness of and educate our players, staff, fans and the wider community about antisemitism in football.”
Board of Deputies of British Jews Vice President Amanda Bowman said in a statement on Friday, “We commend Chelsea FC’s prompt intervention following antisemitic songs sung by a section of Chelsea supporter’s at the club’s Europa League game in Hungary. This disgraceful behavior must be challenged and the perpetrators identified and punished.”
“The Board of Deputies is fully behind Chelsea’s ‘Say No to Antisemitism’ campaign launched this year,” she added. “However, this incident and the abuse aimed at Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling last Saturday demonstrate that football still has much work to do before racism on the terraces is eradicated.”
Jewish Leadership Council Chief Executive Simon Johnson stated, “The latest antisemitic incident is thoroughly depressing, especially in light of the dedicated work that Chelsea FC has done to address the problem.”
“We completely endorse the club’s strong statement and would support them in any robust action which they now take against the perpetrators,” he said.