Cardiff City has long been one of Wales’ most successful football teams. Still the only non-English side to have won the FA Cup, the club have enjoyed a revival of fortunes on the pitch in recent years. After reaching the FA Cup Final in 2008 and the final of the Football League Cup in 2012, Cardiff entered the Premier League at the beginning of the 2013-2014 season. The owner of Cardiff City, Tan Sri Vincent Tan, has not only brought increased funds to the club, but also revealed a philanthropic side when he announced details of a one-million-pound donation to charity in August 2013.
Tan Sri Vincent Tan was born in Malaysia and is one of the world’s richest businessmen. In addition to holding majority shares in Cardiff City Football Club, he was formerly the founder and chairman of the Berjaya Group. The Thanks a Million campaign, which launched at the beginning of the current Premier League season, was the brainchild of Mr Tan. The scheme involves the football club donating one million pounds to a variety of local charities. This donation will not just be a one-off either, as Mr Tan has ensured that a further million pounds will be donated every year for as long as he owns the club and the team stays in the Premier League.
This is the first time that a Premier League football club has run such an initiative and approximately fifty charities and community organisations in Wales have benefited. The organisations which received the charitable funds were chosen after all the players, management and staff at Cardiff City were consulted.
Some of the charities involved in the Thanks a Million initiative include the Cardiff Foodbank, Bobath Children’s Therapy Centre, Age Cymru, Valley Kids and the Welsh Football Trust Disability Programme. The Cardiff Foodbank receives donations of food from various sources which can then be purchased by the neediest people in the community by way of a voucher. The food bank is part of a larger network under the auspices of the Trussell Trust. The trust is currently being led by Chairman Chris Mould and Chief Executive David McAuley.
While fans of Cardiff City will be hoping that their team remains in the Premier League, many other people across Wales will be anxious to see the same outcome. The longer Cardiff City FC remains a Premier League side, the more local charities will benefit.