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Chelsea and US soccer team to march from Auschwitz to Birkenau concentration camp sites

(JTA) — Two professional soccer teams — one in England and one in the United States — will send a joint delegation to the March of the Living.

The Chelsea Football Club and New England Revolution announced Wednesday in a statement to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that they will have some 30 members attend the May 2 event in Poland, when approximately 10,000 people will march silently from the Auschwitz to Birkenau concentration camps to commemorate the lives lost in the Holocaust.

The joint delegation will include Chelsea Director Eugene Tenenbaum, CEO Guy Laurence, former manager Avram Grant, club ambassador Steve Redgrave and six players from its under-18 academy. From the Revolution, President Brian Bilello and former player Charlie Davies, now a club ambassador, will attend.

Last year, Chelsea was the first member of the Premier League, the top level for British soccer clubs, to send a delegation to the march. The Revolution of Major League Soccer will be the first U.S. team to send a group.

On May 15, the teams will compete in a charity match in Boston to raise funds for four organizations: the World Jewish Congress, Anti-Defamation League, Holocaust Educational Trust and Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue, the site of a deadly shooting last year.

The participation in the March of the Living is part of a joint initiative by Chelsea, which is owned by the Russian Jewish businessman Roman Abramovich, and the Revolution, which is owned by the American Jewish businessman Robert Kraft, to fight anti-Semitism in sports.

Chelsea launched the project last year in response to its fans on multiple occasions using anti-Semitic slurs and singing anti-Jewish cheers.

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