Chelsea star Maren Mjelde hails Roman Abramovich for leading fight against domestic violence and discrimination

MAREN MJELDE hailed Roman Abramovich for leading Chelsea's fight against domestic violence and discrimination ahead of the new season.

The Russian billionaire, 53, supported the charity Refuge during lockdown, by raising awareness and matching donations made to help the women and children experiencing abuse during the pandemic.

The cause is said to be very important to the Blues chief and he played a large role in the side donating their £100,000 prize money for winning the Women's Super League title to the charity.

Chelsea defender Mjelde, 30, said: "We are a leading club when it comes to facing racism and discrimination.

"Just look how the owner generously helped NHS workers.

"We donated all our money from our league win. It makes me proud to be part of a big club like Chelsea — also for the values we stand for.

"Refuge is such an important charity, because it has been a difficult time for families and for people in general.

Many families have been at home for so long and people are losing jobs. The work Chelsea and the owner have done was really positive.

"Many families have been at home for so long and people are losing their jobs.

"Kids didn't have school, which might be their only safe place.

"There are a lot of things that have probably been going on during lockdown that haven't been good for kids.

"So, I think the work Chelsea and the owner have done with the charity was a really positive thing."

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The Blues were crowned champions on a points-per-game basis after last season was cut short.

And after being pegged back for a 1-1 draw at Manchester United in this term's WSL opener last weekend, they host Bristol City on Sunday.

Norway star Mjelde added: "It's going to be a really tough season with a lot of games — but we are prepared for it.

"We have a really big squad and quality players all over the pitch.

"We've made some good signings which have adapted really well into our team — so I'm really excited.

"I'm very proud to be a Chelsea player — not just on the pitch but off the pitch — going into the new season."

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