“Disappointed at large” – How Chelsea owner Abramovich reacted after being the target of anti-Semitic attacks
For the first time during his ownership, the Blues owner found himself under attack for more than just being rich
Chelsea president Bruce Buck has expressed concern that club owner Roman Abramovich is facing anti-Semitic attacks on social media for the first time.
The Blues owner has often been described as a Russian billionaire after his takeover of the club in 2003, but in recent years his ethnicity has grown in importance.
Shortly after conducting a rare public interview and expressing concern over the racism faced by players at his club, he himself was the victim of abuse. It came after he launched the Say No to Anti-Semitism campaign through Chelsea and became an Israeli citizen.
What did Buck say?
“He was certainly disappointed in a broader sense, not just because things were being directed at him, but because of what was going on in general,” Buck said as the attacks unfolded amid rising tensions in the Middle. -Orient in May.
“I think that’s how everyone at the club felt. The interesting thing about today’s event (a breakfast with people from football and politics involved in the fight against anti-Semitism), in a way it was depressing but in a way it hasn’t been an easy time for those struggling with discrimination over the past year and a half.
“It’s also important to remember that when we stand up for what we believe in and, causes like this, it leads to good things.”
Buck’s thoughts on football’s response to the situation
As with England’s national teams, football clubs have found themselves almost entirely on the right side of the anti-racism debate.
Typically, it has focused on discriminating against other groups, but Chelsea are hoping that after a recent fourfold increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes in the UK, this can be on the agenda of the Premier League and beyond.
“Honestly we are not interested in taking all kinds of credit for this, we would like to share all of our resources, all of our thoughts, even some of our people with other clubs, to engage in similar or different activities related to fight discrimination, ”Buck added.
“The only way it’s really going to work is if there’s a geometric multiplier in there. We’ll be happy if we can move the needle a bit, that’s a really big deal and Chelsea won‘t fix this on their own. .
“It needs a lot of people to be there and that’s what we would really like to see.”
Will Chelsea continue the fight?
Yes, they have launched an exhibition at the Royal Air Force Museum in London which celebrates the contribution of the Jewish people during WWII. They will also fund a campaign in Israel that sees Jewish and Arab children playing football together to improve integration.
There is hope, however, that the ideas will spread beyond the club and Chelsea hosted a breakfast with leaders in the fight against anti-Semitism in the UK. This led to the anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out to state that it intended to focus more on anti-Semitism.
“Historically, it has been alleged that Kick It Out was formed to combat racism against black players and coaches,” said Anthony Burnett, CEO of Kick It Out.
“But we are convinced that you cannot fight just one form of discrimination, because discrimination is bad in all its forms.
“We looked at our strategy and realized we weren’t doing enough against anti-Semitism. Chelsea have been a shining light, and it gives us the opportunity to follow in the wake.
“We are going to do more on anti-Semitism because not enough has been done in football. We have a role model to follow now, and we can hopefully add to that as well.”