Jack Grealish says he’s partnered with a charity close to my heart, with the England and Man City star being named the new Chief Ambassador for Special Olympics GB.
He joins a host of famous faces in supporting Special Olympics – including Global Ambassadors Chelsea legend Didier Drogba, Olympic swimming legend Michael Phelps, musician Avril Lavigne and Hollywood actor Chris Pratt.
The 26-year-old hopes to ‘create positive change’ and use his profile as one of the country’s most popular footballers to raise awareness of the organisation’s work in support and opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities.
Special Olympics GB offers year-round training and competition in both summer and winter sports for children and adults of all abilities with developmental disabilities.
It aims to promote inclusion and create opportunities for all individuals to be accepted, regardless of ability or disability.
Grealish, who is English football’s most expensive player after his £100m move from Aston Villa to City last summer – and is also a brand ambassador for Italian fashion house giants Gucci – pledged long-term support for the “important organization”.
He said: “I had been thinking for some time about how best to use the platform football gave me to create positive change, and it had to be something very close to my heart.
“Special Olympics GB is such an important organisation, playing a huge role in addressing the lack of inclusion for hundreds of thousands of children in the UK with developmental disabilities.
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“No one should be excluded from opportunities, and I don’t support bullying or discrimination. In my new role with Special Olympics GB, I am proud to stand alongside all children, young people and adults living with an intellectual disability, and the amazing families who support them.
Grealish’s younger sister Hollie suffers from cerebral palsy, with the football star opening in a recent interview about his special bond with his family.
“I think family is one of the most important things in life,” Grealish said.
“I can’t really explain to you how close I am to my family.”
Special Olympics GB has ambitious growth plans for 2022, with large-scale competition making a comeback after being put on hiatus during the coronavirus pandemic.
The new Special Olympics GB summer sports series, which will run from June to September, will be the biggest celebration of sport for people with intellectual disabilities in Britain, providing opportunities for at least 1,500 athletes in a variety of sports.
The organization is also preparing for next year’s Special Olympics World Summer Games in Berlin.
And it appears Grealish’s membership has gone down well with those involved with the charity.
Niall Guite, Special Olympics World Games Gold Medalist and member of the Special Olympics GB Athlete Leadership Team, said: “I love football so much and it’s amazing to be on the same team as Jack Grealish. !
“Having such an important player and public figure supporting our community gives us all so much energy and motivation.”
Managing Director Colin Dyer said: “Everyone at Special Olympics is thrilled and delighted that Jack has agreed to join Special Olympics GB as a Senior Ambassador.
“After a really difficult time for many people during the pandemic, especially for people with intellectual disabilities, there is so much positive momentum at Special Olympics GB at the moment. It is a perfect time to welcome Jack to family.
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