Chelsea Football Club is planning to send racist supporters on educational trips to the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz, instead of handing them banning orders.
The idea has been revealed by the club’s chairman, Bruce Buck, and its Jewish owner, Roman Abramovich, is at the forefront of the initiative.
Buck told the Sun: “If you just ban people, you will never change their behaviour.
“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’.”
The move has been welcomed by the Community Security Trust (CST), a charity that protects British Jews from anti-Semitism.
Dave Rich, CST’s head of policy, told HuffPost UK: “Giving people the opportunity to change their views and learn, and tackling anti-Semitism through education is definitely something to be welcomed.
“If it works, then it’s much better than just banning somebody,” he continued. “If you ban someone from your football stadium they still have their racist views, it’s much better to change them.
“This sets an example of how to tackle anti-Semitism, not just for football clubs but others in society.”
Rich added that the plans are part of a wider Chelsea FC project aimed at tackling anti-Semitism, which CST has been advising on.
The Say No Anti-Semitism initiative was launched in March and a delegation from the club attended the March of the Living at Auschwitz.
Two months later, 150 supporters club members visited the concentration camp and a holocaust survivor also held a talk for players and coaching staff, speaking about his experiences.
In September last year, the club publicly criticised a number of its own fans for anti-Semitic chanting during a match against rivals Tottenham.