Chelsea FC, Peres Centre for Peace, Israel Football Association team up to promote peace through sports

July 14, 2021 by TPS
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The Chelsea Foundation, the Peres Centre for Peace and Innovation, and the Israel Football Association launched on Tuesday a new partnership to further develop and expand the Playing Fair, Leading Peace program, bringing together Arab and Jewish children across Israel through soccer.

The late Shimon Peres blows the whistle in a Peace Team game                  Pic: Efrat Saar

The partnership forms part of Chelsea Foundation’s ‘Say No to Hate’ initiative and is funded by club owner Roman Abramovich.

“Playing Fair, Leading Peace” uses a “training the trainers” model, recruiting Jewish and Arab university students to take part in a football-based, anti-discrimination and leadership training program. Following their training, Young Leaders work in mixed Jewish-Arab pairs to implement inclusive football activities for mixed classes of Jewish and Arab schoolchildren.

The program has been in place since 2016 and is supported by the Israeli National Football Association and with additional support from UEFA Foundation for Children and Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.

The new partnership with Chelsea Foundation will enable an expansion of the program, reaching more than 1,000 Jewish and Arab children and young adults across Israel in the coming year. Chelsea’s professional coaching model, dedicated to promoting values of fair play, respect and discipline, will be integrated into the program supported by Chelsea Foundation’s world-renowned coaching staff.

The partnership between Chelsea FC, the Peres Centre and the IFA was developed following Chelsea Women’s visit to Israel in 2019, during which the team took part in football and education workshops with Arab and Jewish girls, promoting communication and teamwork and bringing different communities together through sport.

Bruce Buck, Chelsea FC Chairman, said that during the 2019 visit, they “saw first-hand the power football can have in bringing together communities and breaking down barriers. We hope that this new initiative will empower children to harness the respect and fairness in football and use those values to promote greater tolerance, unity and inclusion in society.”

Oren Hasson, IFA President, said that “this groundbreaking collaboration is a testament to the partner’s belief in the power of football to be a connecting bridge on the pitch and everywhere. No barrier, natural or artificial, will prevent the common future of us all in the field of football and in every other aspect in life.”


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