Chelsea seek to ed­u­cate racist of­fend­ers

Tehran Times - - WORLD SPORTS -

Chelsea are com­mit­ted to en­gag­ing any racist sup­port­ers in ed­u­ca­tional cour­ses which could in­clude funded trips to Auschwitz as part of their wider drive to stamp out an­ti­semitism, sources have told ESPN FC.

The club want to give sup­port­ers found to have en­gaged in abuse the op­por­tu­nity to spend time with di­ver­sity of­fi­cers as an al­ter­na­tive to blan­ket bans.

In a state­ment is­sued to ESPN FC, ac­tion group Cam­paign Against An­ti­semitism praised Chelsea’s drive to change the minds as well as the ac­tions of a mi­nor­ity of their sup­port­ers. “Chelsea Foot­ball Club’s de­ci­sion is a com­mend­able proac­tive ef­fort to ed­u­cate some of the club’s anti-Semitic sup­port­ers,” said Stephen Sil­ver­man, the group’s di­rec­tor of in­ves­ti­ga­tions and en­force­ment. But the or­ga­ni­za­tion also warned that at­tempts to ed­u­cate racist fans must be de­ployed in con­junc­tion with, rather than in­stead of, pun­ish­ment for in­ci­dents of abuse. “Vis­its to con­cen­tra­tions camps form an im­por­tant part of any ed­u­ca­tional pro­gram de­signed to help com­bat an­ti­semitism but it can­not re­place dis­ci­plinary ac­tion or, where a hate crime against Jews has been com­mit­ted, the full force of the law,” Sil­ver­man added.

“Of­fer­ing vis­its to Auschwitz to fans who have al­ready been iden­ti­fied as anti-Semites might help those racists to see the er­ror of their ways, but it also presents many op­por­tu­ni­ties for abuse and should only be of­fered as part of a broader re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion pro­gram that fol­lows on from for­mal le­gal pro­ceed­ings.” Chelsea are aware of this risk. Sources at the club have told ESPN FC that their pol­icy will not in­ter­fere with cases where foot­ball ban­ning or­ders have been im­posed as a re­sult of ac­tion by the Crown Prose­cu­tion Ser­vice and the po­lice, but rather tar­get lower level of­fend­ers who may prove more re­cep­tive to ed­u­ca­tional cour­ses as an al­ter­na­tive to los­ing ac­cess to matches.

In an in­ter­view with The Sun on Wed­nes­day, Chelsea chair­man Bruce Buck said: “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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