The English Football League has named the British Red Cross as its next charity partner, the two organisations have announced.
They said the partnership will raise funds for people experiencing loneliness in England and Wales, as well as reaching isolated communities around the country via the EFL and its 72 clubs.
The partnership will start in July to coincide with the beginning of the 2022/23 season and is set to last two years, the charity said.
The EFL will incorporate the British Red Cross logo on all EFL shirts and replica kits for the upcoming season.
The partnership will be the second of its kind for the EFL, following its four-year partnership with the mental health charity Mind.
A spokesperson for Mind was unable to confirm how much the partnership had raised so far.
Trevor Birch, chief executive of the EFL, said: “Club allegiances and a love of the game offer a sense of belonging to millions in this country and we believe that partnering with the British Red Cross will help us bring more people together through the medium of football.
“The EFL and its clubs already deliver life-changing work through its community network and with eight in 10 people in the UK living within 15 miles of an EFL club, collaborating with an internationally renowned organisation such as British Red Cross will help elevate the services that organisations offer to people up and down the country.”
Paul Amadi, chief supporter officer at the British Red Cross, said: “We all know football has the power to bring people together and we can’t wait to join forces with the English Football League to tackle the issue of loneliness.
“The pandemic has exacerbated loneliness and has left people feeling more isolated than ever before. Lockdown only amplified this deep-rooted problem, with millions of people left feeling cut [off] from the world they once knew.
“Although social distancing and other restrictions continue to be eased, loneliness remains. Together we can help bring an end to the stigma of loneliness and connect people who are left feeling alone.”