The Jewish owner of Chelsea want to send antisemite supporters on trips to the horror museum of Auschwitz instead of imposing banning orders.
The club’s owner, Roman Abramovich, who is Jewish, is at the forefront of the initiative, designed to "tackle antisemitism" among fans. Chelsea want to offer supporters caught being "racist" the chance to attend education courses at the second world war concentration camp in Poland instead of being banned from attending matches at the Premier League club.
"If you just ban people, you will never change their behaviour," the Chelsea chairman, Bruce Buck, told the Sun. "This policy gives them the chance to realise what they have done, to make them want to behave better. In the past we would take them from the crowd and ban them, for up to three years. Now we say: ‘You did something wrong. You have the option. We can ban you or you can spend some time with our diversity officers, understanding what you did wrong."
Chelsea publicly criticised a number of their own fans for antisemitic chanting against rivals Tottenham in September 2017.
Buck said: "It is hard to act when a group of 50 or 100 people are chanting. That’s virtually impossible to deal with or try to drag them out of the stadium. But if we have individuals that we can identify, we can act."
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The club sent a delegation to Auschwitz for the annual March of the Living in April, while 150 staff and supporters went on a day trip in June to the site which once housed concentration camps.
Buck said: "The trips to Auschwitz were really important and effective and we will consider more as well as other things that will affect people."
The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust is in favour of the plan, while the Football Supporters Federation’ also lent support. The "campaigns and diversity " manager, Anwar Uddin said: "The FSF have long advocated and promoted educational sessions with supporters found to have used "discriminatory language". We completely agree with Bruce Buck that simply banning people doesn’t change behaviour or attitudes and applaud Chelsea for being one of the first Premier League clubs to so publicly advocate this approach and hope others follow their example."
On Wednesday Chelsea previewed a new film at the Houses of Parliament aimed at raising awareness of the "consequences of antisemitism", interspersing images of "offensive chants and social media posts". Buck told the club’s website: "We are just trying to make a dent in the antisemitism in this world. Over time we hope to make a real contribution for good to society."