The charitable side of ... The Premier League

John Plummer

No, we don't mean Sunderland's defence. The league gets involved with a range of good causes.

The Premier League is making an effort to tackle the beautiful game's ugly reputation this season. Given that the players are unlikely to stop blowing snot from their noses or diving for penalties, the league's chief executive, Richard Scudamore, is wisely focusing on the game's charitable side to achieve the goal.

Scudamore says better publicising the league's community work is his primary objective. The 2005 Deloitte Football Finance report suggests he has something to shout about.

The report states that Premiership clubs contribute goods and services worth about £80m to community projects each season. That may be less than Chelsea players spend on private jets, but in the voluntary sector, where money is scarcer than trophies in Newcastle, it shows how clubs have the capacity to sprinkle gold dust among their communities.

Since 1997, the league has worked with the Department for Education and Skills on a scheme called Playing for Success, designed to raise literacy, numeracy and ICT standards among seven to 14-year-olds. There are no plans to roll it out among players.

The league has pledged £15m a year for the next three seasons to the Football Foundation, which invests in grass-roots football. It is also an official partner of the Year of the Volunteer - Fulham players will soon set an example by cleaning part of the River Thames close to their Craven Cottage stadium.

And sometimes players support causes without prompting. Portsmouth's Linvoy Primus and West Brom's Darren Moore walked parts of the Great Wall of China over the summer for a charity called Faith in Football.

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