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Abramovich addresses his initiative to fight antisemitism in rare Chelsea match programme note

FBL-ENG-PR-CHELSEA-SUNDERLAND-TROPHY BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images

Roman Abramovich is a man of few public words. When he does speak, even if through the written word, it is always noteworthy. That he’s chosen to do so as Chelsea launch his initiative to fight anti-semitism shows just how important this is to him.

Here’s the full text of his note in today’s match programme, as per the Chelsea official website, with emphasis added.

At the start of 2018, I am reminded of the important milestones we have achieved together as a club since 2003. Along with the Premier League titles and other pieces of silverware we have won together, that special night in Munich cemented our place in European history and was a magnificent achievement for our wonderful football club.

We have achieved a huge amount on the field together and I am immensely thankful for your support of Chelsea, which continues to inspire us in the pursuit of success.

When I first came to Chelsea, I had two ambitions: to create world-class teams on the pitch; and to ensure the club plays a positive role in all its communities, using football as a vehicle to inspire and engage.

It has always been important to me to create a club that is welcoming to everyone. We actively celebrate our cultural and religious diversity and, through the work of the Chelsea Foundation, deliver programmes to promote equality and tackle discrimination all over the world. However, we are all too often reminded there is more to be done.

Tonight’s game is an important one. On 27 January, the world observed Holocaust Memorial Day. The Holocaust was a crime without parallel in history. We must never forget such atrocities and must do our utmost to prevent them from ever happening again. It is my honour to dedicate this match to the victims of the Holocaust and to the Jewish community.

This evening I am proud to launch an initiative to raise awareness of and to tackle antisemitism in all its forms, and hope to have your support for this work.

This is the start of an important journey and we all have a part to play. We can all do something to challenge discrimination at our club as well as within the world around us. With your help, Chelsea can play a leading role in this vital area of work and demonstrate to everybody that we are a club open to all.

This is certainly an initiative that we all can and need to get behind as well.