Abramovich 'appalled' at James abuse, pledges funds to fight racism

Abramovich 'appalled' at James abuse, pledges funds to fight racism

February 1, 2021

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich writes to every player for the first time vowing to ‘personally direct more funds’ to anti-racism efforts after being ‘appalled’ by abuse directed at Reece James on social media

  • Roman Abramovich has never before written directly to his Chelsea players 
  • But owner reached out to offer complete support for those suffering racist abuse
  • Reece James was targeted online last week with barrage of vile messages
  • Abramovich wrote that the club is committed to fighting all discrimination

Roman Abramovich has written to every Chelsea player, telling them that he is ‘appalled’ at the abuse suffered by Reece James and pledging to provide additional funding for the club’s anti-racism efforts.

In a significant move, which represents a first, the west London club’s players found personalised letters from their owner at the training ground on Monday morning.

In them, the owner says he will ‘personally direct more funds’ towards the ‘important work’ that Chelsea does and vows ‘I want you to know that as players you have my and the club’s absolute support’.

Roman Abramovich (left) has written to every Chelsea player to offer his support for those who have suffered racism, including Reece James (right), who was the latest star to be abused

The letter marks a significant move from Abramovich, who personalised the letters

The Chelsea defender shared a screenshot of the racist messages he received on Instagram

Defender James was abused on social media on Friday. The right-back, 21, posted a screenshot of racist messages he had received via Instagram, with the caption ‘something needs to change’. 

Chelsea responded by issuing a statement expressing their ‘disgust’ and condemning those involved.

And a clearly angered Abramovich has now taken matters a step further. In the message, he says that he knows James and several of the club’s players have been targeted. 

‘I am appalled by the racist abuse targeted at Reece on social media,’ he writes. ‘Racism has no place in our club nor in our society. Our club is committed to fighting racism, antisemitism and all forms of discrimination.’

Abramovich, who is Jewish, adds: ‘It shocks me that only days after we commemorated Holocaust Memorial Day, we as a society do not seem to have learned the lessons of our shared past and the consequences that hate and discrimination can have.

’The letter, which is signed by Abramovich and a copy of which has been obtained by Sportsmail, continues: ‘We cannot allow this to continue unchecked. I have therefore directed the board to further increase the club’s efforts in this area and I will personally direct more funds towards this important work. 

We will be setting out our actions as a club in the coming days. ’Abramovich then concludes by saying he wants Chelsea to ‘do more to challenge discrimination at our club, in our communities and in the world around us’.

‘Rest assured,’ he adds, ‘we will play a leading role in this vital work and demonstrate that football is a sport that is open to all’.

Chelsea have already echoed the view, aired by Manchester United and others, that social media platforms should take stronger action against those who use them to direct hatred at others.

United trio Anthony Martial, Axel Tuanzebe and Marcus Rashford have all been subjected to racist abuse over the past week, which police are investigating.      

Marcus Rashford is another player to have recently received racist abuse online

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