English Football League Sponsor Sky Bet have donated 72 signed shirts, one for each EFL club, to the Team GB Deaf football team to help raise the funding they need to get to the Deaflympics in Turkey in July.
The team are currently £13,500 short of their target, which needs to be raised by April 16 if they are to attend the finals. The money will be used to support the team’s preparations for the Deaflympics 2017, with training weekends and matches in the build up to the competition, plus the cost involved in representing the male and female teams at the tournament.
The team receives no funding from the Government or UK Sport and has raised over £85,000 to date, but there is still work to do if the teams are going to make it. The shirts will be auctioned through the official Team GB Deaflympics Football teams Twitter account, with all proceeds going directly to the campaign.
The Deaflympics is the oldest disability sports competition in the world, predating the Paralympics by 36 years. The first was held in Paris in 1924 and the next Games will be held in Samsun on Turkey’s Black Sea coast next summer. Claire Stancliffe, the captain of the women’s team said: “We haven’t really had any funding from UK Sport for the Deaflympics.
“The reason they won’t fund us is that the Deaflympics does not fall under the Olympic/Paralympic pathway. Our target is to raise £125,000 to cover all the costs of attending the tournament – kit, training camps and travel.”
Sky Bet Sponsorship Manager David Tweed said: “This is a campaign that we’ve followed very closely over the last couple of months, and we’re pleased we can help out with their fundraising effort.
“We’re calling on fans of the 72 EFL clubs to dig deep to help get our boys and girls to Turkey and hopefully bring us back some medals!”
For more details of how to bid for your favourite teams shirt click here !
To donate to the campaign outside of the auction, visit the Deaf GB Football JustGiving page