The Premier League season wrapped up on May 12th with Manchester City claiming the crown for the second season running. Earlier in the week, Liverpool and Tottenham booked a date in the Champions League Final while London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea did the same for the Europa League Final. However, there’s one game in between all of those that stands out as most important for a variety of reasons.
On Wednesday, May 15th, a mere three days after the PL season ended and two weeks before their Europa League Final in Baku, Azerbaijan, Chelsea headed across the pond to Boston to play the New England Revolution. The friendly, which was announced back in November, was entitled the Final Whistle on Hate and raised funds for multiple organizations fighting anti-Semitism and discrimination.
Chelsea arrived on Monday and went straight into a variety of fan and PR events. From a rainy open training session that saw a couple hundred fans show up at Harvard to watch the team train and then stick around for selfies and autographs to a more subdued evening event featuring Chelsea Chairman Bruce Buck, former manager Avram Grant, along with first team players Olivier Giroud and Cesar Azpilicueta.
Whenever a European soccer team visits the United States, fans expect a variety of events beyond the match itself. The above events from Chelsea were a nice balance of fan engagement and striking a serious tone around the importance and reasoning of the Final Whistle on Hate.
Over the past couple of seasons, Chelsea has been at the forefront of philanthropic endeavors and education around their broader Say No to Anti-Semitism campaign. One of the main components of that is player education, with multiple visits to concentration camps by staff, players, and fans to learn about the history of the Holocaust. On Tuesday in Boston, they visited the New England Holocaust Memorial to read the inscriptions and listened to talks from descendants of Holocaust victims and survivors.
In total, Chelsea, the New England Revolution, and fans raised more than $4 million for 15 different organizations and charities that combat discrimination and anti-Semitism.
A great week for a great cause.
— Chelsea FC USA (@ChelseaFCinUSA) May 19, 2019