Chelsea Condemns anti-Semitic Chants by Fans, Vows 'Strongest Possible Action'

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Europa League match between Vidi FC and Chelsea in Budapest, Hungary, December 13, 2018.
Europa League match between Vidi FC and Chelsea in Budapest, Hungary, December 13, 2018.Credit: Matthew Childs/Reuters

The Chelsea soccer club said on Friday it condemns anti-Semitic chants sung by its fans during a Europa League match against Vidi in Budapest a day earlier.

A group of fans were heard singing chants demeaning the Tottenham soccer club, generally associated with the Jewish community in the United Kingdom. 

"Anti-Semitism and any other kind of race-related or religious hatred is abhorrent to this club and the overwhelming majority of our fans," a Chelsea spokesman said.

>> Read more: 90 percent of European Jews say anti-Semitism getting worse, EU report finds ■ The latest poll on anti-Semitism in Europe looks bad. Trust me: It’s true

"It has no place at Chelsea or in any of our communities," the spokesman added. "We have stated this loud and clear on many occasions from the owner, the board, coaches and players."

According to him, "Any individuals that can't summon the brainpower to comprehend this simple message and are found to have shamed the club by used using anti-Semitic or racist words or actions will face the strongest possible action from the club."

Chelsea supporters have been accused of anti-Semitism on multiple occasions. The club, owned by Roman Abramoich, who is Jewish, announced in January that it would launch an initiative aimed at discouraging anti-Semitism among its players and fans.

The club said it would partner with the Anne Frank House, London’s Jewish Museum, the Holocaust Educational Trust and other organizations to provide workshops on Jewish culture in primary schools. It also announced it would launch an education program for fans who have been banned from games for perpetuating anti-Semitism.

It was reported in October that Chelsea plans to send supporters who engage in racist behavior on trips to the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz instead of banning them.

Chelsea Chairman Bruce Buck told The Sun at the time: “If you just ban people, you will never change their behavior. This policy gives them the chance to realize what they have done, to make them want to behave better."

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