At Chelsea FC, we have always been clear that there is no space in our club for racism, discrimination or any form of hate.
In March 2021, we strengthened this message by launching our club-wide No To Hate campaign – a wide-ranging equality and anti-discrimination campaign to stamp out intolerance in football and beyond.
To re-launch No To Hate for the new season, this week the Club and Foundation have conducted a wide range of activities focused on the four key pillars of the campaign:
Monday 15 August – Gender
On Monday, staff at Chelsea gathered for a breakfast or lunch session entitled ‘All of us win when one of us rises’, focusing on female empowerment in football, both on and off the pitch.
These sessions were an opportunity for staff to come together and discuss the challenges facing women working in football, share experiences and learn how staff can support one another going into the new season.
Talking on the sessions, Sam Gaskin-Kemp (Head of Education at Chelsea Foundation) said: ‘This was an opportunity for us all to come together to understand how we can support and champion women in our workplace. With the success of the England team at the Women’s Euros, it’s clear that times are changing for women in football and more widely.
‘We want to bring everyone together to discuss how we can not only support our women’s team on the pitch, but how we can support each other behind the scenes too.’
Tuesday 16 August – Religious Intolerance
On Tuesday, the Chelsea Foundation were joined by the Renaissance Foundation, an organisation who work with hard-to-reach groups, primarily comprising young carers and patients suffering from life-limiting illnesses. The organisation inspires these young people to fulfil their unique potential. A group of 20 young patients and carers came to Stamford Bridge for a session on tackling antisemitism.
We have long targeted this form of religious intolerance at Chelsea through our Say No To Antisemitism campaign, and this was a chance to share best practice with the Renaissance Foundation and guest speaker Siavosh Derakhti, Founder and Chairman of Young People against Anti-Semitism and Xenophobia.
Throughout the session, Siavosh and Alfie Butwell (EDI Officer at Chelsea Foundation) took the group through a number of activities, covering: the state of modern day antisemitism and its impact on communities, case studies of antisemitism in football, and positive role models against hate within sport.
Sat Singh (CEO of the Renaissance Foundation) said: ‘Thank you for making such an engaging and inspirational day for the young people today. We have had great feedback and they left the day very inspired and motivated following today’s programme.’
Tuesday 16 August – LGBTQI+
Tuesday 16 August also saw us run an LGBTQI+ workshop across two sessions for our Under-15 and Under-16 Academy players, coaches and key personnel. The purpose of these sessions was to informally educate and raise awareness of LGBTQI+ issues in football, discussing how to support each other and break down misconceptions.
The players’ session took the form of a Q&A with former professional footballer Thomas Beattie, hosted by ED&I Manager Lauren du Plooy Flowers. Thomas explored his lived experience of coming out, the mental and physical struggles of not being able to be his true self when playing, and how he has gone on to support others, including Josh Cavallo and Jake Daniels.
The session encouraged conversations around these issues and an online tool enabled them to share responses to questions anonymously to create a more authentic and open dialogue.
The players’ sessions were followed with a session targeted at the players’ coaches and key personnel, equipping them with tools to build confidence in being able to have conversations with players around this topic. Questions were also shared for parents of the players, to help them share what they had learned and engender conversations around these issues.
Wednesday 17 August – Racism
On Wednesday, Alfie Butwell hosted a session on racism with a group young people who have formed part of our youth voice group through the No To Hate school’s education programme. Participants are made up of young people from a variety of primary schools within our local London boroughs.
Alfie took the group through a number of themes: defining racism, challenging racism, the influence of digital technology within racism, the impact of racism on different community groups, positive role models and advocates battling racism, and anti-racism campaigns across sport and communities.
One participant said: ‘We can all contribute to reduce racism. I have witnessed this even on the school playground and now I have the tolls to safely challenge this and educate others on how we celebrate our differences.’
We are excited to keep engaging across our communities with No To Hate, continuing to be a leading force in the fight against hate and discrimination in football and society more widely.