Entain Plc will maintain its ‘Pitching In’ grassroots football and community funding scheme, despite the 2020/2021 season abandonment ordered by its Trident Leagues partners.
The assurance comes following the decision of the Trident Leagues Isthmian, Northern Premier and Southern Leagues to prematurely conclude their seasons due to COVID-19’s impact on staging fixtures.
In addition, the cancellation follows Entain making its first Pitching In club donations, distributed through its ‘community fund’ working in partnership with the Trident Leagues.
Updating stakeholders, Entain assured that Pitching In’s community fund would be available to all non-league clubs seeking financial support affected by the postponement of Trident Leagues 2020/2021 season.
The FTSE100 betting group states that its support measure is expected to be ratified by the FA Council on 18 March.
Group CEO Jette Nygaard-Andersen underlined Entain’s funding commitment at a critical time for amateur sports clubs, many of which are facing an unprecedented financial situation due to the impact of COVID-19 related restrictions.
“There was never any question that we would not honour in full our commitment to the Pitching In Trident Leagues,” Nygaard-Andersen commented.
“With grassroots sports facing huge pressures caused by the pandemic, we at Entain want to play our part, investing in community clubs to ensure not only they survive but thrive. This approach is fundamental to the ethos of our recently announced Sustainability Charter.”
Entain reassured that its community fund will continue to review applications for grants up to £5,000 helping Trident clubs manage COVID circumstances – in which 27 clubs across Trident’s Isthmian, Northern Premier and Southern Leagues have benefited from the scheme’s first round of funding.
For 2021, the operator has earmarked a total of £150,000 to support the first year of its grassroots scheme supporting amateur football clubs.
Pitching In ambassador Stuart Pearce, a former England Captain and product of the grassroots system, backed Entain’s commitment.
“Our brilliant non-league clubs, who are at the heart of their communities, need financial support now more than ever,” Pearce said. “It takes a lot of money to run a football club and make it thrive. Pitching In honouring this sponsorship will make a real difference.”