Clubs urged to sign up and use football’s power to combat antisemitism

Posted on 03 November 2020

Clubs urged to sign up and use football’s power to combat antisemitism

A group of international envoys and coordinators on antisemitism have written to leading European football clubs to urge them to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism.

It is hoped that harnessing football’s global reach will help clubs train stewards and employees in identifying and combatting antisemitic acts. The 14 signatories of the letter told clubs that the Covid-19 pandemic had led to a rise in antisemitism around the world and said that adopting the IHRA definition would “send out a very strong message about your club’s ethos”.

Chelsea became the first sports team to sign up to the IHRA definition in January and Lord John Mann, the UK government’s adviser on antisemitism, told the Guardian the club had demonstrated football’s power to inspire change.

“What we found with Chelsea is the reach of football is far bigger than other institutions in civil society,” Mann said. “If a fan sat at home with his club all over his Facebook and Twitter persona is spewing out antisemitism, then if the club challenges it that’s dramatically more powerful.

“If the club gives a message of ‘These aren’t our values’ and invites the individual in for some education, most people would accept the invitation. We’re getting to people who, perhaps because of their ignorance, are creating distress. It pulls away the majority of people who, when antisemitism is explained to them, don’t want to repeat what they’ve said.”



“Globalized antisemitism is a thriving international enterprise that transverses cultures and civilizations. You can help us fight the this most enduring, pervasive, and lethal mode of hatred.”

Raheel Raza



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“antisemitism is unique in the annals of prejudices”

“No other widespread prejudice has characterized people as such cosmological threats…. No other prejudicial discourse has been so eliminationist or produced such regular calls for violence and extermination.”

Prof. Daniel Jonah Goldhagen

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