(Reuters) – Chelsea are considering sending racist supporters on trips to the Nazi death camp Auschwitz to tackle anti-Semitism at the club.
British newspaper The Sun reported Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, who is Jewish, has spearheaded the new initiative which will offer the fans the chance to attend education courses at the camp in Poland where the Nazis murdered more than 1.1 million people, 90 percent of them Jews.
Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck believes it is a step towards changing the attitudes of the supporters instead of imposing bans from attending matches at the Premier League club.
“If you just ban people, you will never change their behaviour,” Buck told the Sun.
“This policy gives them the chance to realise what they have done, to make them want to behave better.”
Chelsea criticised a number of their own fans for anti-Semitic chanting against London rivals Tottenham Hotspur in September last year.
Tottenham have historically had a substantial support base among London’s Jewish community, and fans of the club have been targeted by rival fans with anti-Semitic chants for years.
“In the past, we would take them from the crowd and ban them, for up to three years,” Buck said of fans caught chanting racist slurs. “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 did not immediately respond to a request to comment from Reuters.
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru)