Sport The Business of Sport

Lineker supports ex-England team-mate’s charity efforts

England’s footballing, ‘Match of the Day’ and crisp legend Gary Lineker has given his support to this year’s ‘GT15 Tour de France’ challenge to raise £1m for Cure Leukaemia. Plans include a ‘Geoff Thomas

Day’ on 4 July, midway through the epic cycling challenge. Ex-footballer and blood cancer

survivor Thomas is leading a team of amateur cyclists for his fifth and final Tour de France, a day before the professionals, from 26 June to 18 July. Plans for Geoff Thomas Day were announced on the 28th anniversary of Thomas’ famous miss for England in their 2-0 victory over France at Wembley, when he was set up by Lineker only to fluff his goal scoring chance. However, the Cure Leukaemia

patron is determined to hit the target in his latest challenge by helping raise £1m for the charity. The funds raised will be invested

directly into the national Trials Acceleration Programme (TAP) network allowing blood cancer patients, from an increased catchment area of over 20 million people, access to potentially life- saving treatments through clinical trials.

Geoff Thomas Day will mark 15 years since the former midfielder

was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia. ‘Match of the Day’ presenter

Lineker, whose son George also battled acute myeloid leukaemia, said: “I still can’t believe Geoff managed to miss that chance against France, but football can be cruel in allowing moments like that to define a career. “I remember Geoff as a talismanic midfielder and an

incredibly tough opponent, and he has transferred those qualities into not only beating blood cancer himself, but also now in raising funds to help others. “It is extraordinary what Geoff

has achieved since going into remission 15 years ago. This will be his seventh Grand Tour and his final Tour de France and I really hope he and his team go beyond their £1m target for Cure Leukaemia.”

An ace role for Eventmasters

On the ball: Geoff Thomas (left) and Gary Lineker

Consultants to help County FA

The organisation responsible for grassroots football in the region has employed a consultancy to help boost its impact via increased funding. Oaks Consultancy has been

commissioned by Birmingham County FA (BCFA), the not- for-profit governing body for football in Birmingham, the Black Country, Coventry and Warwickshire. BCFA is hoping that the

Jewellery Quarter based firm can help create a ‘dynamic, member-focused organisation which delivers safe, fun and inclusive football’. Oaks works with

organisations of all shapes and sizes across the sport, education, public and third sectors to help them boost income generation potential, identify fundraising opportunities, put structures in place to capitalise on these opportunities and bring in new and diverse funding. Richard Lindsay, business

insight manager at BCFA, said: “As one of the country’s largest county football associations we have ambitious plans to increase participation across all levels of the game by greatly improving the opportunities available for individuals to access how, when and where they choose to play, officiate or spectate. “For us to meet this

responsibility, we need to review our current service offering and that of our associated partners to develop strong collaborative corporate partnerships that meet the values of our business and deliver shared success over a sustained period.” Oaks managing director

St Paul’s Square-based Eventmasters is once again working with the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) to offer official corporate hospitality at the prestigious Nature Valley Classic Birmingham tennis tournament, between 13-21 June. The women-only pre-Wimbledon tennis tournament

is held at The Priory Club, Edgbaston (pictured) and this summer it returns for the 39th time. In that time, the club has welcomed many tennis

legends to its grounds over the years, including Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Maria Sharapova, Venus

Williams, and current British No1 Johanna Konta. Ashleigh Barty, who is ranked as world No 1, was the

first Australian woman in 43 years to achieve top status in the sport following her victory in last year’s Nature Valley Classic. Eventmasters CEO Denise Sheasby said: “We are

really proud to represent the LTA and the city at the Nature Valley Classic. The greater Birmingham corporates have really got behind this event, it’s a great tournament in its own right and as part of the build up to Wimbledon is a must for any tennis fan.”

Luke Southall said: “Football is a uniquely powerful tool which – when used effectively – has the power to improve the lives of thousands of people in our region through improved physical and mental wellbeing and many other social outcomes. “We’re delighted to be

working with Birmingham County FA to help them achieve these outcomes.”

April 2020 CHAMBERLINK 85

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