Call for more giving from top football clubs

Football clubs should be obliged to donate a certain percentage of their annual turnover to charity, according to Niall Quinn, chairman of Sunderland.

Players at the launch of the Premier League's Creating Chances
Players at the launch of the Premier League's Creating Chances
Quinn was speaking at the launch of the Premier League’s Creating Chances programme, a month of community-related activities by clubs designed to showcase the amount of charity and community work football clubs already do.

Each of the 20 Premier League clubs has chosen three local charities to benefit from player appearances over the coming month. In total, 500 good causes will be supported by 200 players. Fans, celebrities and former players will also represent their clubs in a seven-a-side tournament, for which the £300,000 first prize will be donated to a charity of the winning team’s choice.

Quinn said: “Football clubs have a massive status within their communities, and they have to live up to that. In the future, charitable giving should maybe be mandatory; that is the road we are heading down.”

The event, which was presented by television presenter Gabby Logan, also featured James Purnell, the sports minister, and Richard Scudamore, chief executive of the Premier League. Scudamore said: “We have been doing charity work for 25 years, but we felt it was time to make sure we get the recognition we haven’t had in the past.”

He said football clubs would spend £122m next season on good causes, according to research by accountants Deloitte, representing a 50 per cent increase since 2003. “This is a huge commitment to this type of activity,” he said. “It shows how powerful football has become off the pitch.”

The event was also attended by one player from each Premier League club, including Manchester United’s Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Chelsea’s Steve Sidwell, Arsenal’s William Gallas and Liverpool’s Dirk Kuyt.

Ledley King, the Tottenham and England defender, said: “It’s good to put a smile on the kids’ faces; you can’t put a price on that.” Portsmouth’s Linvoy Primus added: “The gap between the players and the community has grown a bit recently.”

A spokesman for Creating Chances said the initiative, which voluntary and community groups were invited to apply for in May and June, was designed to engage charities that wouldn’t otherwise have had the opportunity to work with football clubs. “We asked the clubs to choose more unusual events or charities,” he said. “We didn’t just want players turning up and cutting ribbons.”

Earlier this year, Premier League clubs were condemned by donor information website Intelligent Giving for their “staggeringly low” donations to charity, which the website estimated – based on scrutiny of clubs’ annual reports – to amount to just £400,000, compared with a combined turnover of more than £1bn.

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