Every Chelsea player has written to Roman Abramovich, telling them that he is ‘appalled’ at the violence endured by Reece James and promising to provide extra support for the anti-racism activities of the club.
In a big change, which represents a first, the players of the West London club on Monday morning find personalized letters from their owner at the training ground.
In them, the owner says he will ‘direct more funds directly’ to the ‘important job’ Chelsea does and vows ‘I want you to know that you have my and the full support of the club as players.’
On Friday, defender James was threatened on social media. The right-back, 21, posted a screenshot with the caption “something needs to change” of racist messages he had received via Instagram.
By releasing a statement expressing their disgust and condemning those involved, Chelsea replied.
And Abramovich, evidently upset, has now taken matters a step further. He says in the message that he knows that James and some of the club’s players were attacked.
‘I am appalled by the racial harassment on social media aimed at Reece,’ he writes.
‘In our club and our culture, bigotry has no place. Our club is committed to the fight against racism, anti-Semitism, and bigotry of all forms.’
Abramovich, who is Jewish, adds:’ It surprises me that we as a community do not seem to have learned the lessons of our common history and the effects that hatred and bigotry can have, just days after we celebrated Holocaust Memorial Day.
‘The letter, which Abramovich has signed and a copy of which Sportsmail has received, continues:’ We will not allow this to proceed unchecked. Therefore, I have instructed the board to further increase the efforts of the club in this area and I will steer more funds personally towards this important work.
In the coming days, we will be setting out our acts as a club. ‘Abramovich then continues by claiming that he wants Chelsea to’ do more to challenge prejudice at our club, in our communities and around us in the world.’
Rest assured,” he adds, “we’re going to play a leading role in this crucial job and prove that football is a sport open to everyone.
Aired by Manchester United and others, Chelsea has also echoed the opinion that social media outlets should take stronger action against those who use them to guide hate against others.