London law firm Bolt Burdon Kemp calls out Chelsea Football Club for hypocritical stance in light of George Floyd protestsJune 11, 2020
- Chelsea FC statement said they stand with those protesting police brutality, sparked by the recent murder of George Floyd
- However, the club are defending ongoing cases of racial abuse against them, despite charity report confirming racial abuse
- Bolt Burdon Kemp is calling for an end to this hypocrisy
Chelsea football club recently published support for George Floyd on their website despite continuing to fight cases accusing their staff of racially abusing ex-players in the 1990’s. Although they have posted support for racial equality, they steadfastly refuse to acknowledge the systemic issues engrained into the culture of the football club.
In their statement they write that they ‘stand with victims in the fight against discrimination, brutality and injustice’. They also mention that they are ‘committed to being a part of the solution’. A report published by Chelsea FC in 2019 carried out by children’s charity Barnardo’s, found that former youth coach Gwyn Williams was racially abusive towards players in the 1980’s and 1990’s.
In 2018 the ex-chairman of Chelsea FC Ken Bates verbally attacked former players who accused the club of racial abuse. Instead of empathising with ex-players who suffered verbal and physical abuse for years at the club, Ken Bates proceeded to victim blame them, saying they only raised allegations against the club because there was a “sniff of money in the air” and that they were “failed footballers”. Sadly, the club did not distance themselves from Ken Bates or his comments and they continue to defend these cases of racial abuse. Four of these cases are being prepared for trial in the High Court in early 2022.
The actions of the club do not reflect their statement of support for the Black Lives Matter movement’s call for racial equality across the world. Dino Nocivelli, abuse solicitor at Bolt Burdon Kemp who represents some of the ex-players said ‘we of course support and fight for our clients against injustice and we want the club to be part of the solution rather than another hurdle. Our clients want to be treated fairly and to achieve meaningful change through these civil cases, by acknowledging past wrongs, identifying systemic issues that need to change, and thereafter, seeing that change being put in to effect’.
Bolt Burdon Kemp is calling on Chelsea Football Club and the world of football to make real changes to safeguard black players from experiencing racial abuse and part of this is accepting the failings of the past. Enough is enough, actions speak louder than words.
Dino Nocivelli is a partner in the Abuse team at Bolt Burdon Kemp. If you feel you may have a claim or are enquiring on behalf of a loved one, contact Dino free of charge and in confidence on 020 7288 4887 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, complete this form and one of the solicitors in the Abuse team will contact you. Find out more about the Abuse Team.