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Entain announces grassroots football charitable foundation following GVC rebrand

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Ladbrokes Coral owner, Entain, which today rebranded from its old name GVC Holdings, has launched a charitable foundation to support the development of non-league football clubs.
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Entain is partner of the three Trident Leagues, the Isthmian, Northern Premier and Southern Leagues, which together with the operator today jointly announced the launch of the Trident Community Foundation (TCF) to help fund community-based projects through a grant application process for the 228 clubs in the leagues.

“Pitching In”, Entain’s recently launched grassroots sports investment programme, is the founding partner of the TCF, and has donated £150,000 to establish the TCF fund, which will be distributed across the 2020/21 season.

The TCF’s aim is to support, develop and improve the delivery of community programmes at the football clubs, and help fund small and medium-sized projects. It is intended to be a sustainable community programme that will help clubs develop young talent, promote non-league football to a wider audience and attract volunteers to Trident League clubs.

In the first year, the maximum grant award will be capped at £5,000, however this could increase in the future should the fund increase, Entain said.

Pitching In was announced on 3 September as the partner of all three Trident Leagues, and today’s launch of the TCF is the latest phase of the Pitching In grassroots sport investment programme.

It comes at a time when football clubs and sport organisations across the UK are facing an unprecedented impact on their finances due to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, Entain said.

The foundation will be chaired by David Emery, editor of the Non-League Paper, and its board includes the chairmen of the Isthmian and Northern Premier leagues, and the Southern League’s vice-chairman, as well as two representatives of Entain Group as the founding partners.

Entain’s chief executive, Shay Segev, said: “This unique and exciting partnership will provide grassroots support where it is needed most for the benefit of community-based football clubs, and the thousands of people that play for them, work for them, volunteer for them, and support them. This is exactly in line with the approach we recently set out when launching our Sustainability Charter.”

Stuart Pearce, football manager and former professional player, who is also the official Pitching In Ambassador, said he knows first-hand the difference the grants will make to the community football clubs playing at the non-league level.

“Community football is facing the most challenging time imaginable because of COVID-19 pandemic,” he said, “so the establishment of this Foundation is all the more welcome for that.”

A joint statement from the three Trident Leagues said the clubs are the heart of their local communities, and that the TCF fund will provide them with the means to strengthen community links.

In line with Entain’s decision in 2019 to unilaterally pull out of football sponsorship 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.

The operator reported a 12% year-on-year rise in net gaming revenue for the third quarter of 2020, as strong growth from its offline business offset a weaker performance from its retail operations.

In a trading update for the three months ended 30 September, it said online gaming revenue was up 26% from the prior year, or 28% on a constant currency business.

Entain changed its name from GVC today after 99.96% of votes cast at its extraordinary general meeting approved the change. The operator said the name change – proposed last month – reflects its goals of sustainability.

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