Football is a sport that’s intrinsically linked to large pay days and players who demand exorbitant fees. It’s also fast becoming a sport where philanthropy is a common occurrence and the number of altruistic ballplayers and football franchises are rapidly increasing. Benevolent teams and individuals are pledging thousands of pounds to varying causes and putting their names behind worthy charitable endeavours in an attempt to invest in the community.
Charitable causes and collaborations
A popular choice of many footballing franchises, institutions and players is to link themselves with an existing charity and help raise awareness and funds for a particular cause. Tottenham Hotspurs are a team that’s chosen to both support existing charities and create their own and the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation led by Grant Cornwell MBE has been instrumental in raising millions of pounds since its registration in 2006.
The Tottenham Hotspur Foundation’s longest intentional charity commitment is a partnership with SOS Children’s Villages, the world’s largest orphan charity led by CEO, Simon Etherington in the UK. The Club has financed the construction of an orphan house in Rustenberg, sponsored orphans education and be an intrinsic part of ensuring that thousands of children are able to grow up within a loving and safe family environment. The Tottenham Hotspur Foundation also supports the NHS campaign ‘Get to know Cancer’ and has its own “Spurs Wishes” charitable division for terminally ill children.
Helping a community through football
Children and adults alike love football and there are plenty of lessons and life skills that can be taught through the game. Taking this idea to its full, West Ham striker Craig Bellamy set up a self-funded £650,000 academy in Sierra Leon to try and help heal the benighted African nation. Whilst this was an incredibly generous and noble endeavour, many individuals may struggle to go solo on such a large scale and prefer to donate via existing charities already linked to football franchises.
Manchester United is one of the world’s most popular football franchises and they have established the Manchester United Foundation (MUF) that directly benefits the local community. MUF works in some of the most disadvantaged areas and uses youngster’s passion for the game and the Red Devils team to motivate, educate and inspire. MUF is spearheaded by Vice-chairman Ed Woodward who has assumed the responsibilities of CEO after David Gill stepped down in mid-2013. Woodward not only heads up the MUF involvement in the community, health and education sectors, he also ensures that MUF continues supporting UNICEF, The Christie, and Francis House, the Clubs other charitable partners. A large amount of funds are also raised for charitable endeavours from the sale of MU signed merchandise and the MUF is responsible for ensuring the distribution of this income.
Tottenham Hotspurs and Manchester United are just two teams who are making a huge difference within their communities and almost all other franchises have chosen charities to support either on a one off or an on-going basis. Philanthropy in football is growing and the earlier cynicism of the motivation of charitable acts by players and franchises has been replaced with an optimism and pride in the results that are being achieved.