Former Manchester United defender donates money to GB's deaf team
Ex Manchester United defender Gary Neville has donated £20,000 to Great Britain's men's and women's deaf football teams in order to help them secure their place at next year's Deaflympics.
By the end of the month, the team needed to raise the money to use as a deposits for next July's Deaflympics in Turkey, the biggest multi-sport event for deaf athletes.
However, this isn’t the end of their fundraising as they still require a further £105,000 to cover the cost of travelling to Turkey and training camps for the competition.
"You don't know how much this means to me and the team," tweeted GB women's captain Claire Stancliffe, who has been helping to lead the fundraising effort.
UK Sport doesn’t give funding to Deaf sport and as a result to compete at this year's Deaf World Cup, where the women's team won bronze and the men were seventh, donations were needed to cover costs. Various current footballers from both the men’s and women’s game helped raise funds, some of these players are Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland, England women's players Fran Kirby and Lucy Bronze. In addition, money was also raised for the team through a foundation run by Liverpool’s James Milner.
"For the last nine years since I made my international debut, I've had to fundraise every year just to represent my country, let alone pay for all the training I have to do. It does get tiring and sometimes you do feel like just giving up," Stancliffe told BBC Sport.
"But there's just something that makes me keep fighting. I can't give up something that has ultimately made me who I am today.
"If I didn't have the opportunity to play with other deaf players, I would be lost. No one can fully understand deafness unless they have been through it themselves."