More than a game

League celebrates Community Captains for 'More than a game'

13 Feb 2024
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Campaign celebrates people at the heart of Premier League-funded programmes for their commitment to football and society

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The Premier League is today launching the "More than a game" campaign to showcase how its wide-ranging investment into all levels of football enables people connected to clubs to have a positive impact on their local communities.

Clubs across the Premier League, EFL and National League are naming a Community Captain, somebody at the heart of their Premier League-funded programmes who deserves recognition for their commitment and contribution to the game and society.

PL More than a game Community Captain

The "More than a game" campaign - which will be visible at all Premier League matches between 17 and 26 February - will showcase how the Premier League's world-leading investment into all levels of football and funding for club community programmes positively impact the lives of millions. 

Premier League success means unprecedented financial support is distributed across the leagues in England and Wales, from grassroots to professional football, across both the men’s and women’s game.

Between 2022 and 2025, the Premier League has committed £1.6billion of investment for wider football and communities. The League invests in community projects run by 164 professional and non-league clubs, supporting people of all ages who need it most through focused initiatives and programmes targeting local needs.

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One of the Premier League's longest-standing investment projects is the development of grassroots facilities in partnership with The FA and Government through the Football Foundation.

Over the last 24 years, total grants in excess of £1billion have resulted in better places to play in communities throughout the country.

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said: "One of the great strengths of football is its ability to have a positive impact on people of all ages and backgrounds - from fans watching in the stands to the millions playing grassroots football, and all those involved in community programmes run by clubs.

"Thanks to the success of Premier League football, we are able to continue providing unparalleled investment to all levels of the game. This enables clubs to deliver life-changing community programmes week in, week out, in every part of the country.

"During this campaign, we will be celebrating Community Captains connected to clubs across the football pyramid. They are the unsung heroes and people who go above and beyond the call of duty to benefit the lives of others, demonstrating that football is so much more than a game."

Community Captains will be awarded with a bespoke print, captain's armband and pennant as a thank you for their much-appreciated dedication and hard work, with clubs arranging presentations by first-team players and managers.

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This includes Ismael "Ish" Bamba, who moved to England from Ivory Coast with his family as a child.

After becoming a participant on Premier League Kicks sessions delivered by the Newcastle United Foundation, Ish is now a project officer for the club’s Foundation.

He also coaches the next generation taking part in PL Kicks, which delivers free, weekly football sessions across England and Wales, including in some of the most high-need areas.

Ish recently met Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer at an unveiling of a mural close to St James' Park, which has been created to celebrate his impact on the local community.

Shearer, the Premier League's all-time leading goalscorer, said: "One of the things I love the most about football is its ability to bring people together on and off the pitch and provide opportunities within communities everywhere. I think Ismael epitomises what it means to be a Community Captain - he-s a true role model who inspires others and leads by example. He is a credit to Newcastle United and the club's Foundation.

The Hall of Fame inductee added: "I was lucky enough to have fulfilled all my dreams as a professional footballer, but my first experience of competitive football - like so many others - came at grassroots level. Premier League funding benefits every part of the game and is integral to its ongoing strength."

Pathways for talented female players

Other people being celebrated during the campaign include Janna, aged 14, who is a participant on Leyton Orient’s FA Girls’ Emerging Talent Centre (ETC), having previously taken part in Premier League Kicks.

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The Premier League is funding the FA to deliver 73 ETCs across the country, improving the pathways for talented young players from all backgrounds to progress into the professional game.

The number of participants has risen from 1,722 to almost 5,000 in under two years.

Aid for the grassroots game

Dave Tromans has been involved with non-league club Staveley Miners Welfare for more than 60 years, including as a player, manager and kitman.

Staveley Miners - who play at level 10 of the football pyramid - is one of over 1,000 lower-league and women’s clubs to have benefitted from grants to improve their ground and facilities through the Premier League Stadium Fund, which has invested almost £200 million since 2000.

Community Captains will be celebrated on Premier League and club channels over the next two weeks.

To find out more, please visit: www.premierleague.com/morethanagame and use #PLMoreThanAGame on social media

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