English Premier League adopts IHRA definition of antisemitism

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“Our adoption of the IHRA’s working definition will enable us to be more effective in dealing with any antisemitic behavior targeting our clubs or personnel.”

Premier League soccer ball, illustrative (photo credit: PIXABAY/KEVINSTUTTARD)

Premier League soccer ball, illustrative

(photo credit: PIXABAY/KEVINSTUTTARD)

The English Premier League, the highest level of soccer in England, has adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, the organization said on Thursday.

In a press release, the league said it had adopted the definition as a part of its “ongoing commitment to promote equality and diversity, and to combat discrimination of any form in football.”

Executive director Bill Bush said: “The Premier League is committed to tackling any form of discrimination in football,” adding that “our adoption of the IHRA’s working definition will enable us to be more effective in dealing with any antisemitic behavior targeting our clubs or personnel.”

Former Labour Party MP Lord John Mann, who is the UK government’s independent adviser on antisemitism, said that “the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism by the Premier League will rightly be heralded by the footballing community and clubs worldwide.

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“I congratulate our Premier League for setting the global standard… I hope others will now step up and be counted.”

The Combat Anti-Semitism Movement welcomed the announcement, with director Sacha Roytman-Dratwa saying: “As the most popular competition in world football, the Premier League is sending a hugely important message to countless fans across the world: that there is absolutely no place for antisemitism in today’s world. We hope that it will inspire people to join the fight against antisemitism, racism and hatred.”

The announcement comes as part of a large drive to combat discrimination and racism in English soccer, and follows in the footsteps of London-based Chelsea FC, which have worked with its Israeli-Russian owner Roman Abramovich, who is Jewish, on a wide range of projects and initiatives to combat antisemitism.

Last year, Abramovich announced a donation to the Imperial War Museum’s new Holocaust Galleries, scheduled to open in 2021.

The move also comes after the Argentine Football Association, Argentinian soccer’s governing body, also adopted the IHRA’s definition of antisemitism in October.

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