Chelsea’s efforts to be a leading light in the fight against antisemitism, racism, and all forms of discrimination are being called into action once again, as the first scenes from the BBC’s upcoming “Shame In The Game” documentary were sent out to media yesterday.
You can read all about the shocking details at the Mail or, even better, if you have a subscription, at the Athletic from friend of the blog, Dan Levene, but the footage shown in the documentary includes things like Nazi salutes, antisemitic chanting, liberal use of the y-word, and hissing noises imitating gas chambers — all from Chelsea fans in Lille earlier this season, when Chelsea played there in the Champions League group stages.
Sadly, it’s nowhere near the first time even in recent years that Chelsea supporters were involved in racist incidents, leading to a strongly worded statement last season from the club as well against the morons who thus continue to shame the club. (Alas, UEFA dropped that investigation, which is another big part of the problem.)
Following yesterday’s media reports, Chelsea have once again promised a full investigation and appropriate punishments for those who can be identified in the BBC’s footage.
“Chelsea Football Club will conduct a full investigation into the matter as soon as we have been able to view the video. It is unclear to us at this point if Chelsea supporters are involved. However, should any individuals displaying discriminatory behaviour in the video be identified as season ticket holders or members of this club, we will take, and support, the strongest possible action against them, in line with our zero tolerance approach to all forms of discrimination. Such behaviour does not in any way reflect the values of this club.
“No club has done more than Chelsea FC to fight against antisemitism. This football club has made great strides over the last couple of years through our wide ranging Say No To Antisemitism campaign to educate people on not only antisemitism but also where hatred can lead.
“Where we feel education can help supporters understand the impact of their actions and change their behaviour, we will endeavour to educate. In appropriate circumstances the club will, however, take the strongest action against offenders and issue bans. The club will always support the relevant authorities in any related prosecution.
“We are unequivocal in our position that such behaviour has no place in our club or our communities and we are committed to continue our work to rid the game of this unacceptable behaviour.”
-Chelsea FC statement; source: Athletic
The documentary “Shame In The Game”, which focuses on those Chelsea fans as well as several other recent racist incidents in the game, will air on BBC Three on February 12.
It won’t be an easy watch, but it will be a necessary one, just as the response that must follow after it.