Roman Abramovich pledges funds to tackle racism in letter to Chelsea players

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has pledged funds to tackle racism in a personal letter to his players.

Blues defender Reece James was the target of abuse on social media, receiving a torrent of messages which included monkey emojis and racist remarks.

Sharing these messages on his Instagram story, the Englishman said: “Something needs to change!”

And Abramovich, who is Jewish, has written to all his players – for the first time since buying the club in 2003 – declaring that he will put funds towards tackling the problem.

In the letter, the 57-year-old said: “I am appalled by the racist abuse targeted at Reece on social media Racism has no place in our club nor in our society.

“Our club is committed to fighting racism, antisemitism and all forms of discrimination. I want you to know that as players you all have my and the club’s absolute support.

“The racist abuse targeted at Reece follows a number of recent incidents and I know that several of our players have been the targets of hate and discrimination on social media.

“It shocks me that only days after we commemorated Holocaust Memorial Day, we as a society do not seem to have learned the lessons of our shared past and the consequences that hate and discrimination can have.

“We cannot allow this to continue unchecked.

“I have therefore directed the board to further increase the club’s efforts in this area and I will personally direct more funds towards this important work. We will be setting out our actions as a club in the coming days.

“I want Chelsea Football Club to do more to challenge discrimination at our club, in our communities and in the world around us.

“Rest assured, we will play a leading role in this vital work and demonstrate that football is a sport that is open to all.”

James’ abuse came just days after Manchester United stars Axel Tuanzebe and Anthony Martial were targeted following their 2-1 loss to Sheffield United.

While forward Marcus Rashford received abuse after the 0-0 draw against Arsenal.

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