3 September 2020
GVC Announces the Launch Of ‘Pitching In’ a Multi-Million Pound Grassroots Sport Investment Programme
England Football Legend Stuart Pearce Signs Up as ‘Pitching In’ Ambassador
‘Pitching In’ Announced as Official Partner Of The Isthmian, Northern Premier and Southern Football Leagues
GVC is today launching a major new multi-million pound investment programme, Pitching In, designed to support and promote grassroots sports. This comes at a time when football clubs and sporting organisations across the nation are facing the unprecedented impact on their finances of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The multi-million-pound, multi-year, investment programme is being launched with a flagship partnership with The Isthmian, Northern Premier and Southern Leagues – collectively known as The Trident Leagues – which make-up levels seven and eight of the English football league pyramid.
The Trident Leagues, which trace their roots back to the nineteenth century, are at the heart of the national game, with 226 clubs (rising to 240 Clubs in 2021) and 15,000 players registered across the three leagues in the many villages, towns, and cities of England and Wales, bridging the gap between the professional and recreational football worlds.
The announcement, which sees each of the leagues take the Pitching In title, will deliver vitally needed financial support, as the leagues seek to cope with the consequences of the COVID-19 lockdown, which saw the null and voiding of the 2019-20 season. In addition to financial support, a key focus of the partnership will be to facilitate and encourage community volunteers to do some pitching in of their own, and contribute their time and effort. A Pitching In volunteering scheme will be established to link UK-based GVC colleagues with their local clubs to further strengthen community ties.
England footballing legend Stuart Pearce is returning to his non-league footballing roots and has been signed up by GVC as the official Pitching In Ambassador.
The former defender who has 78 caps for England, famously played with non-league Wealdstone FC for over five years, before going on to play for Coventry City, Nottingham Forest, Newcastle United, Manchester City and West Ham United. He has now teamed up with GVC, the global sports-betting and gaming Group and today launches Pitching In.
Stuart Pearce, ambassador for the Pitching In programme, says:
“I am delighted to be taking up the role of ambassador for Pitching In, as I’m passionate about the importance of investing in grassroots sports and in developing young talent. I started out playing for Wealdstone FC before joining Coventry City so I understand how important funding is to the non-league game. Grassroots football is facing huge challenges at the moment and many clubs are struggling to stay afloat. GVC’s Pitching In investment will help make a big difference to hundreds of clubs and thousands of players across the country.”
Commenting on the launch of Pitching In and the Trident Leagues partnership, Shay Segev, CEO of GVC Holdings said:
“In a world where local and grassroots sports are under increasing financial pressure, we believe our Pitching In Investment Programme will play a pivotal role in supporting the next generation of British sporting heroes. Today’s partnership announcement with The Trident Leagues is a hugely positive step in this direction and underlines our commitment to support both grassroots sport, and the communities in which we operate.”
In a joint statement, the three leagues – Nick Robinson (chairman, Isthmian), Mark Harris (chairman, Northern Premier) and Anthony Hughes (vice chairman, Southern League) warmly welcomed their new partners.
“Community is at the heart of non-league football, so the Pitching In partnership is a perfect fit for us. GVC’s commitment to grassroots sport is clear from their previous work, and this investment shows huge belief in the importance of grassroots sport.”
In line with the decision taken by GVC in 2019, to unilaterally pull-out of sponsorship of football in the UK, the Pitching In partnership will not promote any of the Group’s betting or gaming brands and no branding will be used at any of the leagues’ grounds.
Where GVC will utilise its expertise and that of independent consultants to deliver extensive educational programmes on responsible gambling and sports integrity to all of the leagues’ clubs.
Following the launch of the Pitching In Investment Programme the Group’s highly successful existing multi-year collaboration with SportsAid will become an important part of Pitching In. Launched in 2019, via its partnership with SportsAid, GVC supports 50 aspiring athletes a year across England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.
Further announcements on additional projects will be made in the coming weeks and months. For more details see: https://entaingroup.com/corporate-responsibility/pitching-in/
The Trident League Partnership
- The Pitching In Investment Programme will become the Official partner of the Northern Premier, Southern and Isthmian Leagues which make up the Trident leagues at levels seven and eight of the English football pyramid (steps 3 and 4 of the National League System) in a multi-year agreement
The Pitching In Isthmian League
- The Isthmian League was founded in 1905 and covers London, the East and South East of England with 82 Clubs across 4 divisions at Steps 3 and 4 of the FA National League System
- There are 22 clubs in the Isthmian Premiership and the champions of the 2018/2019 season were Dorking Wanderers
- Worthing were in first position when the 2019/20 season was terminated on 26 March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic; however, they were not officially recognised as champions
The Pitching In Northern Premier League
- The Northern Premier League was founded in 1968 and covers all Northern England and the northern/central areas of the Midlands.
- There are 61 clubs across the Premier Division (Division One North West and Division One South East which make up the Northern Premier League
- The Premier Division champions for the 2018/19 season were Farsley Celtic with South Shields top of the league when the 2019/20 season was terminated on 26th March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic
The Pitching In Southern League
- The Southern League was founded in 1894 and covers the Midlands and South of England and Wales
- There are 84 clubs which are divided into four divisions; Premier Division Central, Premier Division South, Division One Central and Division One South
- The Premier Division central champions for the 2018/19 season were Kettering Town with Weymouth champions of the Premier Division South. Peterborough Sports were top of the Central Premier and Truro City top of the South Premier when the 2019/20 season was terminated on 26th March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic
Pitching In SportsAid
- Notable beneficiaries of GVC’s partnership in 2019/20 include archer Eleanor Piper, rifle shooter Ruth Mwandumba, track and field star Joel Clarke-Khan, para table tennis player Craig Allen and wheelchair basketball talent Ross Davidson
- A total of 12 recipients of support in 2019 have continued on the programme with GVC in 2020
- July saw Cheyanne Evans-Gray join the 2020 cohort, the sprinter, who competes for Croydon Harriers and set a new British University and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Championships record over 60m this year, balances training with a job at one of GVC’s Ladbrokes betting shops in Croydon
- The young athletes will be following in the footsteps of legendary figures such as Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, Sir Mo Farah, Dame Sarah Storey and Ellie Simmonds OBE – all of whom received SportsAid support – and more recent beneficiaries including Dina Asher-Smith and Adam Peaty MBE
GVC Holdings PLC
Jay Dossetter, Head of ESG & Press Office
Tel: +44 (0) 203 938 0000
Rob Greening / Elly Williamson
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7250 1446
About GVC Holdings PLC
GVC Holdings PLC (LSE:GVC) is a FTSE100 company and is one of the world’s largest sports-betting and gaming groups, operating both online and in the retail sector. The Group owns a comprehensive portfolio of established brands; Sports Brands include bwin, Coral, Crystalbet, Eurobet, Ladbrokes, Neds and Sportingbet; Gaming Brands include CasinoClub, Foxy Bingo, Gala, Gioco Digitale, partypoker and PartyCasino. The Group owns proprietary technology across all of its core product verticals and in addition to its B2C operations provides services to a number of third-party customers on a B2B basis. The Group has also entered into a joint-venture with MGM Resorts to capitalise on the sports-betting and gaming opportunity in the US. The Group is tax resident in the UK with licenses in more than 20 countries, across five continents.
For more information see the Group’s website: www.gvc-plc.com