Conference on Combatting Antisemitism in Football in London

Participants of the conference, from left: Thomas Spiegel (FC Schalke 04), Arne Stratmann (SC Freiburg), Meinolf Sprink (Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Victoria Hindelang (DFL), Arne Scholz (SV Werder Bremen), Lord John Mann (adviser to the UK government on antisemitism and ambassador of the organisation "Kick It Out"), Carlo Kosok (KickIn!), Ronja Seitz (DFL), Susan Theis (FC Bayern München) and Daniel Lörcher (what matters).
Photo: Kick It Out

24 November 2023 – A group of club representatives, employees of the DFL Fan Affairs department, the non-profit organisation what matters and KickIn! travelled to London last week to attend a conference on combatting antisemitism in football.

Dialogue at Stamford Bridge

Experts from English and German football joined politicians at Stamford Bridge for the conference “Combatting Antisemitism in Football”, organised by the Chelsea Foundation, to discuss learnings, action strategies and challenges. Podium discussions covered various topics including the importance of educational projects and the part that football can play in combatting antisemitism both on and off the pitch. The dialogue also focused on the reporting and evaluation of incidents of antisemitism.

A fundamental necessity for the discussion of these topics is a shared understanding of antisemitism, such as the definition provided by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), adopted by German professional football in 2021. In addition, members of Jewish football fan clubs spoke of the importance of giving clubs and fans extensive support in setting up and raising the profile of Jewish fan clubs.

The event was hosted by Lord John Mann, adviser to the UK government on antisemitism and ambassador of the organisation Kick It Out, which works to combat discrimination in sport. Back in February, representatives of the Premier League, the Football Association (FA), the English Football League (EFL), Chelsea FC, Watford FC and Kick It Out visited Borussia Dortmund to learn more about German professional football’s efforts to fight antisemitism and promote diversity and inclusion.

A look behind the scenes at Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC

The trip also included a visit to the Community Security Trust, a dialogue on the work and challenges of the UK Jewish association Maccabi GB as well as a tour of the House of Lords and the UK parliament. In addition, at Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC, the delegation gained insight into the clubs’ commitment to sustainability, organizational issues around matchdays, the work with fans and activities relating to diversity and inclusion. To round off the programme, the delegation joined Lord John Mann at Wembley Stadium to watch England play Malta which resulted in a 2-0 win for England.

The German delegation included representatives from SV Werder Bremen, Borussia Dortmund, SC Freiburg, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, FC Bayern München and FC Schalke 04. The trip also served to promote the continuation of an international exchange of perspectives and examples of good practice in relation to curbing incidents of antisemitism and discrimination. Further close collaboration between experts from German and English football is planned for the future.