The Chelsea Foundation announced on Monday the launch of a new partnership with the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation and the Israeli Football Association (IFA) to help expand a sports program for Jewish and Arab children in Israel.

The Playing Fair, Leading Peace program, which has been in place since 2016, engages Jewish and Arab university students in a soccer-based, anti-discrimination and leadership training program. Following their training, they work in mixed Jewish-Arab pairs to bring inclusive soccer activities to classes of Jewish and Arab schoolchildren.

The Chelsea Foundation, owned by Roman Abramovich, will grow the program in order to reach more than 1,000 Jewish and Arab children and young adults across Israel. Chelsea FC’s professional coaching model—dedicated to “promoting values of fair play, respect and discipline”—will also be integrated into the program with support from the Chelsea Foundation’s coaching staff.

The collaboration is part of the Chelsea Foundation’s “Say No to Anti-Semitism” campaign, which began at the end of 2018.

The partnership between Chelsea FC, the Peres Center and the IFA was developed after the Chelsea Women’s team visited Israel in 2019, and engaged in soccer and education workshops with Arab and Jewish girls.

Chelsea FC chairman Bruce Buck said, “During our visit to Israel, we saw firsthand 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.”

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