It’s the hoariest of cliches to say that sport doesn’t matter in the face of real life, but sometimes cliches are 100% true. This is one of those times. As you no doubt know, a couple weeks ago, a horrific fire tore through the Grenfell Tower apartments in London, a 24 story public housing apartment building on the west side of London.
79 people died, hundreds were injured, and an entire building’s worth of families on public assistance were put out on the street as a result - the building’s still standing, but it’s uninhabitable. All the families in the building will need new housing, but more urgently, they’ll need clothing, food, and shelter.
As in most catastrophic situations like this, people have rushed to help - donation funds have been set up, people have offered up housing, and in general humanity has risen to the challenge of caring for the people who, all of a sudden, have nothing.
The FA has joined the crowd of people and organizations wanting to help the victims of the fire as well. Typically, match proceeds are “distributed to community-based initiatives and charities around the country”. This is done by dividing the match day revenues - everything from ticket sales to programs to concessions - among the 124 clubs who competed in The FA Cup from the first round, who then distribute the proceedsd to local-to-them charities and projects of their choice. Any remaining revenue after costs is distributed to the FA's national charity partners.
This year, though, will be different. The FA announced today that all proceeds from August’s Community Shield match will be donated to the Grenfell Tower support fund, and both Arsenal and Chelsea have committed to donating their match fees to the fund as well.
The Football League generally gets a small slice of the proceeds from the Shield, and that league has announced that they are also donating their share of this year’s Shield to the support fund. The FA also announced that survivors, victims’ families, and emergency responders will be invited to the August 6th game.
For all the criticisms of the FA, and there are many, this is a good thing they’re doing, and they should be applauded for it.