Chelsea Foundation – Promoting Equality

Project details

United Kingdom
Chelsea FC Foundation

Chelsea Foundation – Promoting Equality

Chelsea has developed our own equality campaign entitled Building Bridges which is a year-round programme promoting diversity in our club and our communities.

We are proud to be one of only two Premier League clubs to hold the Advanced Level of the Equality Standard and have a long and proud history in tackling discrimination in all its forms. As part of the Building Bridges campaign we have designed a series of workshops in partnership with the Football Association for primary school pupils to discuss cultural and religious issues, disabilities and how these impact day-to-day life. Pupils also consider how football can help overcome some of the barriers that exist between people as well as the diversity of a club like Chelsea and invites them to make a series of pledges to promote and celebrate diversity.

“We need more young Asian players in the Premier League and in general here in the UK, and in Europe, so it is important Chelsea are trying to help this” Pedro

Key Figures

  • 3 300 Asian players have now taken part
  • 450 pupils took part in Equality and Diversity workshops in 2015/2016


Building Bridges is Chelsea FC’s campaign to promote equality, celebrate diversity and make everyone feel valued throughout our club, stadium and wider community.

Through Building Bridges, we work with everyone from children and young people in schools and grassroots football clubs through to community groups and our senior men’s and ladies’ teams, to create a club where everyone feels welcome, regardless of who they are and where they come from.
Since the campaign launched in 2010, Chelsea FC is proud to have been awarded the Advanced Level of the Premier League Equality Standard – one of only two professional clubs to do so – in recognition of our ongoing commitment to inclusion and to tackling all forms of prejudice and discrimination.

What we do

Celebrating equality through education
Using the power of the Chelsea FC brand, our players and the game itself, we work with children and young people in schools across the south of England to talk about equality and discrimination as well as values of friendship, respect and teamwork. Every year we hold a competition for young people to develop their own anti-discrimination campaigns and pledges, the winners of which have the chance to come to Stamford Bridge, have their photo taken on the pitch, and even to meet some of the players. The programme is going from strength to strength and in the year ahead we will be working with more and more young people in primary and secondary schools across the south of England.

Championing disability football

We are proud to have a large and successful disability programme which helps people of all abilities to get involved in football. On the pitch, successes have included one of our disability teams playing in an exhibition match at the opening of Rapid Vienna’s stadium ahead of a first team game; and our Cerebral Palsy (CP) National League Southern Conference winning team being introduced to the crowd alongside the European Youth winning team at one of our final games of the 2015/16 season.
Off the pitch, we work closely with the Chelsea Disabled Supporters’ Association – the club’s representative body for disabled fans – to ensure our disabled and non-disabled communities are afforded the same opportunities. Successes have included working together to create an industry-leading, disabled ticketing policy which provides free places for disabled fans and their carers; developing policies which take into consideration the needs of our disabled fans; and ensuring stadium facilities are as accessible as possible, including earpieces for visually-impaired supporters, disability drop-off and pick-up points, and radar key-fitted accessible toilets.

Valuing our LGBT Community

We know that many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people feel excluded from football and fear homophobic, biphobic or transphobic discrimination (HBT) whether working in the game, watching from the terraces or playing on the pitch. At the same time, we recognised that HBT discrimination can affect anyone, not just LGBT people. So through Building Bridges we work with LGBT fans, our workforce and campaigning groups to ensure that Chelsea FC is a safe and inclusive club for LGBT people, their families and friends.
In February 2016 we established Chelsea Pride, our LGBT fans’ group, to increase visibility and give LGBT people a representative voice at the club; and in November 2016 we took part in Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign through a series of activities during our home game against Tottenham Hotspur, including:
  • Gary Cahill proudly wearing the rainbow captain’s armband throughout the match
  • Providing players with rainbow laces to wear on the day
  • Displaying the Rainbow Laces campaign on our LED boards throughout the match
  • Bringing together Chelsea Pride and Proud Lilywhites (Spurs’ LGBT fans’ group) before the match to discuss what more we can do for LGBT inclusion across the game Promoting our LGBT work through the matchday programme, this website and on social media

‘It was amazing to see the commitment on social media, the banner hanging in the stadium, the LED equality messages throughout the match, and the armband on Gary Cahill.  No small effort, completely unambiguous in its support, and hugely appreciated.’ William, Chelsea Pride member

Developing diverse talent

Chelsea’s ground-breaking Asian Star initiative has led to more than 3,000 young Asian players taking up the challenge to be named Asian Star since the programme’s introduction in 2009. The initiative aims to overcome low participation levels from British Asians in the beautiful game. So far, ten winners have gone on to play for professional club academies.

The Chelsea FC Foundation’s Community FC side also offers opportunities for aspiring footballers with a variety of disabilities. Whether players are visually impaired, have cerebral palsy or learning difficulties, we provide coaching for all keen footballers.

Our disability department leads the way for disability and pan-disability football coaching and was rewarded for their efforts when members of the Community FC team and their coach were given the honour of carrying the Paralympic torch through central London by Lord Sebastian Coe.

Working in partnership

Through Building Bridges, we work with a range of charities and campaigns to raise awareness of diversity in football and tackle inequality.
For example, to tackle anti-Semitic abuse, Chelsea worked alongside other clubs, football authorities and Kick It Out to produce The Y-Word, a short film about anti-Jewish language. Starring former Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard, the film was made to raise awareness that ‘yid’ is discriminatory language which is particularly offensive to Jewish people, and is unacceptable on and off the terraces. We continue to promote this message throughout the season.
In addition, we work with organisations including Show Racism The Red Card and the Black and Asian Coaches Association, as well as football authorities such as the FA and the Premier League, to celebrate all forms of diversity and to make sure all discrimination is prevented and tackled.

Celebrating inclusion through our Game for Equality

Launched in 2013, Chelsea FC’s Game for Equality provides an opportunity to highlight and celebrate the club’s year-round inclusion work, and brings together organisations and football bodies campaigning to make football more inclusive and diverse.

Matchday activity includes an exclusive short film featuring players and fans to underline the campaign’s message. The film is shown across all our platforms including the big screen before the game, Chelsea TV, this website and social media

  • a series of features across all Chelsea media, in the build-up to the game, about our equality and diversity work
  • players wearing campaign t-shirts to warm up and playing kits featuring the Building Bridges logo, which are then auctioned after the game to raise funds for our equality work
  • displaying our ‘Support Chelsea. Support Equality’ inclusion message on LED boards throughout the match
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