Chelsea Women donate WSL prize money to domestic abuse charity
After the WSL was curtailed last week, the Blues were declared as the champions in the final standings on a points-per-game basis. The financial constraints placed on the women's game have been clear for all to see, but Chelsea Women have made a significant contribution and they have given all of their £100,000 prize money to domestic abuse charity Refuge.
Uniting together has been a central component of the response to the pandemic. Across all aspects of society, the long-term picture is very bleak and the UK is facing its most challenging financial period in peacetime.
Many charities have struggled to stay afloat due to the huge financial strain exerted by Covid-19. The gesture provided by the Chelsea Women has been extraordinary and much needed. During lockdown, there has been a huge spike in the number of domestic abuse cases in the UK and Chelsea have engaged in a partnership with Refuge to shine a light on the issue.
Refuge, which is the UK's largest single domestic abuse charity, provides specialist and confidential support to women who are victims of domestic abuse. Chelsea Women's boss, Emma Hayes, insisted the charity is important to the club and they want to do all they can to ensure victims can get the help they need.
She said: "It's a charity that's close to the hearts and minds of the women's team, and is very important to our own, Mr Abramovich, and everyone at the club.
"It makes me proud our club is supporting those less fortunate in times of need.
"Up until now our involvement was about supporting the campaign publicly with a call to action but we all wanted to do more than that and if donating our prize money can ease some of the concerns and worries people have, then it's the least we can do.
"It's an important message, It's a campaign that's really dear to us and the best way we can demonstrate our support further is by committing our prize money towards it and helping those in need."
Sandra Horley, chief executive of Refuge, emphasised what Chelsea's gesture really means for the charity.
She said: "We are incredibly grateful to Chelsea Women for not only shining a light on domestic abuse but also supporting us with a significant financial commitment.
"This is an incredible gesture. Every penny we raise helps Refuge to provide life-saving and life-changing specialist services."
Football can play a vital role within the community and it can be used as a vehicle to drive social change. Chelsea have shown they have their finger on the pulse in terms of engaging with local issues and providing a response.
Chelsea have publicised a problem that has needed addressing for a long time. In these straitened times, football clubs must reach out and connect with supporters beyond the game.
Of course, there is still some way to go before domestic abuse is fully eradicated from society. But Chelsea Women should be applauded and it should inspire other clubs to follow their lead and help the most vulnerable during critical times.
Written by Charles Perrin
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