Some football fans have been struggling with no games to watch amid the Coronavirus pandemic.
Major football leagues in England and beyond including the Premier League, the EFL, FA Women’s Super League, Women’s Championship, Champions League and Europa League have been suspended amid the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic. And with games suspended in England until at least the 30 April, fans won’t be able to live the magic of the game anytime soon.
However, one football club staff member wanted to keep the game in the mind of fans even when no games are actually been played on the pitch.
Looking after the social media accounts for League Two club Leyton Orient, Luke Lambourne came up with the idea of an online FIFA tournament. The idea – to keep English clubs playing together and to give fans something to talk about and unite over, while raising money for charity.
A request for entrants on Twitter went viral and there are now 128 teams from across the world involved in the online competition. Professional players including Crystal Palace’s Andros Townsend are to take part in the competition, running from Sunday 22 March.
Many clubs are now actively promoting their involvement in the competition, with some streaming their games on Twitch.
So far, the competition has raised over £53,000, thanks to donations on Just Giving and large donations from Bet365 and Sky Bet. 25% of funds raised will be split between mental health charity MIND and the World Health Organisation.
The other 75% of funds will go to support EFL clubs who are expected to experience financial struggles due to the Coronavirus. Last year, both Bury and Bolton Wanderers had to rely on takeovers to secure their continued survival due to financial woes, and it is feared that with no matchday revenue for clubs, many could experience financial struggles, especially those in the lower leagues of the EFL which have much lower levels of external sponsorship.
Luke Lambourne has found a way to raise vital funds for worthy causes while giving football fans something to enjoy during the difficult times of the Coronavirus pandemic.