Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich ‘more supportive than ever’ as he commissions anti-Semitism art project
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is “even more supportive than ever” despite being absent from home games for more than a year, chairman Bruce Buck has said, as he discussed a new artwork commissioned by the Russian billionaire.
Buck said that Abramovich had commissioned a new 12-meter (40ft) mural at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge home in tribute to three Jewish footballers who suffered in Nazi concentration camps during World War Two.
It will be completed by British-Israeli artist Solomon Souza in time to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, as part of the London club’s 'Say No To Anti-Semitism' campaign.
Earlier this week, it was revealed that Abramovich, 53, had pumped £247 million (US$325 million) into the club in 2018-19, despite Chelsea racking up losses of almost £100 million in the same period.Also on rt.com Roman Abramovich plowed $325 MILLION into Chelsea last season in show of commitment – but $35 million went on Conte sacking
Abramovich has not attended a Chelsea game in the UK since experiencing visa problems in the wake of the Skripal spy poisoning row between Britain and Russia.
But Chelsea’s American chairman Buck said the new mural was a continued sign of Abramovich’s commitment to the club he has owned for more than 15 years.
“As far as we’re concerned on a day-to-day basis Mr Abramovich is even more supportive than ever, in all aspects of the club,” Buck said, as reported by The Independent.
“Mr Abramovich is very interested in art, and he had the idea to raise awareness through this project, for people to focus on the problem [of anti-Semitism].
“So the mural has been developed from that idea, and of course it is being donated by Mr Abramovich. We’ve always looked at our efforts here as focusing on awareness, and education and remembrance, keeping in mind that history sometimes repeats itself.
“And with the Holocaust, we’ve got to make sure that it is remembered with the hope that something like that doesn’t happen again.”
Some Chelsea fans have themselves been accused of making anti-Semitic chants in the past, with Abramovich reportedly taking a personal interest in rooting out those responsible.
“This piece of art has a football theme and hopefully it will resonate with our fans,” Buck added.
“Mr Abramovich cares deeply about not just anti-Semitism but all forms of discrimination. We’ve focused on anti-Semitism as a special project even though we continue projects to fight all kinds of discrimination.
“But there hadn’t been anything like this as a project and that’s why we developed it.”Also on rt.com Abramovich ‘requesting reports’ on Chelsea progress with finding fans behind anti-Semitic chants
The new artwork will feature Julius Hirsch, a German international who died at Auschwitz, along with fellow victim Arpad Weisz, a Hungarian footballer.
Welshman Ron Jones, who was a prisoner of war at the concentration camp but was liberated, will also be depicted.
“We hope these characters we have selected will speak to the viewers and to the football fans,” said artist Souza.