British Football – Money-Making Machine or Community Saviour?

There’s no denying that football is big business. With ticket prices and player values having risen dramatically in recent decades, and corporate involvement becoming more and more prominent within the game, it can sometimes seem like Britain’s leading football clubs are nothing more than giant commercial organisations.

But is that really the case and are shareholders the only people who benefit from the success of our football clubs?

Britain’s Football Clubs – Aiming for Business and Sporting Success

The main focus for Britain’s football fans is always how well their teams are doing on the pitch, and that’s usually measured in terms of recent results and, for the leading teams, the number of football trophies they have won. For club owners and managers, however, making money is also high on their lists of priorities, and the amount of cash that a club brings in each year is key to its ongoing success.

Britain is home to some of the richest clubs in the world. Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool all secured places in the top ten in the most recent edition of Deloitte’s Football Money League (published in January 2016), with 2014 – 2015 revenues of €519.5m, €463.5m, €435.5m, €420m and €391.8m respectively, for example. However, not all the money earned by British clubs goes to the shareholders or is used for paying the bills.

Charitable Foundations – An Intrinsic Part of Contemporary Game

Most top flight clubs now have their own charitable foundations, which they use to promote the sport and to help good causes. Formed in 2012, for example, the Arsenal Foundation has donated more than £1 million to national and international charities and community-led schemes, and its Gunners Fund gives locally-based projects, such as theatres, playgroups and playing fields foundations, grants of up to £2,500.

Established two years earlier, the Chelsea Foundation also supports a wide range of initiatives, including educational, social inclusion and anti-discrimination schemes, in addition to organising soccer schools and football development programmes. The Premier League boasts its own charitable fund as well.

Beyond the Premiership – Fundraising Initiatives from Other Teams and Players

It’s not just the big name clubs that are giving something back either. League Two’s Exeter City Football Club, for example, operates a charitable arm, Exeter City Football in the Community, which is responsible for running everything from after school sports sessions for kids to a table tennis club.

Individual footballers often donate their time and money as well. While playing for Liverpool, Jamie Carragher set up the 23 Foundation, with the aim of “giving local kids in Merseyside a chance to achieve their dreams”. Since then, the foundation’s reach has expanded and the money it raises is now used to help children and adults across the globe. Other British players have also established their own charitable trusts and many take part in fundraising events too.

Charitable Football Tournaments – Raising Funds for Worthy Causes in the UK

One of the most popular fundraising vehicles for football players and for clubs of all sizes is, of course, the charity match or competition. The most famous version of this in England is the FA Community Shield, the proceeds of which are donated to charities and community-centred projects throughout the UK.

However, many other charity football matches take place up and down the country each year, including small competitions arranged by schools, local businesses and other organisations, as well as big events featuring well-known names. Therefore, those involved in the game at all levels are continually demonstrating their commitment to giving something back.

If you’re considering organising a fundraising football match or tournament, don’t forget to ensure you’ve got plenty of awards to hand to present to your players after the game. Check out our guide to picking football trophies for some handy hints and tips to help you to choose the perfect prizes.

Are you involved in a charitable project that’s benefited from a football club or player’s support? Does your local club give back to the area and its residents? We’d love to find out more, so leave a comment or tell us about it on Twitter or Facebook.