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Backing for Chelsea trip to Auschwitz

SUPPORTERS’ groups and campaigners have backed Chelsea’s effort to rehabilitate, rather than ban, fans found to have committed racist offences with a programme including visits to Auschwitz.

The club’s Jewish owner, Roman Abramovich, is at the forefront of the initiative, designed to combat anti-Semitism at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea have organised two trips to the Nazi concentration camp in the last six months, which had a profound effect on those who attended.

There is no planned date to return to the former German Nazi camp but Chelsea are keen to continue their efforts at home.

The Blues plan an education programme and diversity training to rehabilitate offenders, who could also be shown a film launched by the club at the House of Commons this week.

‘If you just ban people, you will never change their behaviour,’ said Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck.

Anwar Uddin, of the Football Supporters Federation, said: ‘The FSF have long advocated and promoted educational sessions with supporters found to have used discriminatory language. We agree with Bruce Buck that simply banning people doesn’t change behaviour or attitudes.’

Kick It Out’s Keeley Baptista said: ‘We support efforts to encourage supporters who have engaged in anti-Semitism to change their behaviour.’