All sponsorship money to go to local clubs and community events
May 9th: Unite today (Thursday) announced its sponsorship of a new ‘Unite the Union Champions Cup’. This three year sponsorship will see a two-legged play off (home and away) between the winners of the Northern Ireland Football League and the League of Ireland in November. The cup will be formally launched in the presence of Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey during the union’s Fifth Irish Policy Conference at 4:40 pm on Monday 13 May in the Grand Hotel Malahide.
Commenting, Unite Regional Secretary Jackie Pollock said his union was delighted to sponsor the new ‘Unite the Union Champions Cup’ for three years:
“Unite is the largest union with a significant membership either side of the border and spanning all traditions on this island. Our members come from all communities and cultures and work together to advance the interests of working people, in unity.
“At a time when Brexit has the potential to sow division, Unite shows how ordinary people can come together. In the context of recent events, including the murder of Lyra McKee, Unite is determined to help foster the peace process, and we believe football can be central to that.
“Local football clubs bring our communities together, North and South. These clubs all have their own identities and links into their local communities, with all the opportunities and challenges this brings.
“As well as seeking to advance respect for different cultures, and unity in sport and community development, Unite aims to proactively tackle issues that can cause division”, Jackie Pollock said.
Brendan Ogle is Senior Officer in the Republic of Ireland and added: “Our union has a strong anti-sectarian and anti-racist ethos, and we support gender and sexual equality campaigns. We salute the work done by civil society organisations to tackle racism in sport, and we hope to work with such groups to promote equality and diversity through the Champions Cup.
“Of the €100,000 annual sponsorship money, 75% will go to the participating clubs who are pillars of their community both north and south of the border and uniquely, 25% of the sponsorship money will be ring-fenced for community-based projects based in the locations from which competing teams are located.
“These projects will be chosen and supported consistent with Unite’s equality agenda.
Local communities and local clubs need support now more than ever, and Unite wants to provide some of that support while sending a clear message: we can celebrate our own identities while respecting others”, Brendan Ogle said.
Concluding, Jackie Pollock said: “Our hope is that the Unite the Union Champions Cup will help promote equality, unity and understanding in sport”.