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Fans raise more than £200,000 for support groups from March cup finals

Supporters from the men’s and women’s game who have been locked out of their team’s cup finals have taken to virtual ticket sales to raise money for good causes.

Last weekend, Sunderland won the EFL Trophy beating Tranmere Rovers at Wembley while their supporters raised £165,000 for four north east charities through virtual ticket sales.

The #SunderlandTogether initiative involved selling ‘virtual tickets’ to fans with the chance to win club merchandise and was created by lifelong Sunderland fan Peter Richardson. His idea was then picked up by the Red and White Army, the Sunderland Senior Supporters Association and Sunderland AFC Branch Liaison Council (BLC).

Max Power of Sunderland celebrates with team mates after winning the EFL Trophy – Sunderland v Tranmere Rovers, EFL Trophy Final, Wembley Stadium, London – 14th March 2021 © Alamy

Money raised will be split between the Foundation, the Salvation Army, Sunderland Foodbank and Washington Mind.

Their opponents in the EFL Trophy final, Tranmere Rovers also raised money for charity using a similar virtual ticket drive. Initially setting a target of £10,000 Tranmere Rovers fans raised more than £42,000 for local community groups supporting people experiencing food poverty, mental health issues and isolation.

Women’s League Cup final

The virtual ticket fundraising technique also reached the women’s game, as Chelsea Women Supporters Group used it to raise more than £2,500 for children’s charity Plan UK and LGBT youth support campaign Ditch The Label.

Virtual tickets were sold for the women’s League Cup final, held at Vicarage Road last weekend, between Chelsea Women and Bristol City.

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Funding partners

  • The Football Association
  • Premier Leage Fans Fund

Partners

  • Gamble Aware
  • Co-operatives UK
  • FSE
  • Kick It Out
  • Level Playing Field
  • Living Wage Foundation
  • Pledgeball