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The Ball – sign it at the Euro 22 Fans’ Embassy

Spirit of Football’s unique football – handily called The Ball – has been following our Fans’ Embassy around this summer’s Euro 2022 tournament. So if you’re stopping by our Fans’ Embassy, sign the ball and support Spirit of Football’s work on gender equality and the climate crisis. Spirit of Football director Andrew Aris tells us more…

The Ball began its journey with the FSA at the start of the Women’s Euros and it has been gathering signatures in support of gender equality and climate action around the country ever since.

Together with the Free Lionesses’ Fans’ Embassy it has been touring England – the Ball will make a 12 month global journey to the women’s World Cup 2023 in New Zealand and Australia in July and August 2023.

The motto is an inclusive one: “One Ball, One World”. It means we need to take care of The Ball and also our world.

We are encouraging people en route to sign it and to pledge to take climate action and to support gender equality. Recognising that women and girls experience disproportionate impacts from climate change and the impacts of climate change generally reinforcing existing inequalities, these two goals are interlinked for us.

New Zealand International Katie Rood was the first to sign The Ball. She pledged to sign up for renewable energy when moving to her new home in Edinburgh, where she has signed to play for Hearts.

Spirit of Football’s pledge is to make this journey of The Ball as climate friendly as possible. Many more signatures and pledges were and will continue to be collected over the course of a year until The Ball reaches its destination – Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand.

The Ball focuses on gender equality on our journey for equality. The coach of Peckham Town FC’s men’s team is former England international Mary Phillip.

She is the first black player to captain an England women’s international football team and she represented the country in two World Cups, collecting 65 caps. In 2020 she became the first female manager of a cup-winning men’s senior side. Mary had this to say:

“I won the quadruple with Arsenal,” Mary says. “It is still the only footballing team male or female to do that, and it shows that women can achieve things that men are still striving to do.

“The Ball is putting a statement out there. The way the women’s game is growing and is continuing to grow and that The Ball is going to the women’s World Cup is also recognition of how far the women’s game is being recognised on a level playing field.”

On Monday 18th July, we were invited to present The Ball at Birmingham County FA’s Grassroots Football Awards. Wolverhampton Wanderers Women FC’s chair Jenny Wilkes guided us through the night.

“It isn’t women’s football. It is football,” Jenny said. “It is football for everyone: girls, women, whatever age you are, whatever ability, whatever ethnicity.

“It is brilliant that this ball is going all around the world spreading the word about football for everyone. One Ball, One World.”

The Ball will be at the Free Lionesses Fans’ Embassy event on the day of the England Euro semi-final match in Sheffield on 26th July. Feel free to come by, head it, kick it and make a pledge and sign The Ball.

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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
  • SD Europe