Chelsea will take to the pitch Tuesday as the first English soccer club to add a charity to its Champions League kit, wearing the logo of the Toronto-based humanitarian organization Right To Play.
The use of the words Right to Play refers to the charity founded by Norwegian speed skating star Johann Olov Koss. They’ll appear on the back of Chelsea’s jersey, which already carries those of existing sponsors, Samsung and Adidas.
“I am excited about this new commitment by Chelsea Football Club,” said Koss. “By featuring our logo on their Champions League jersey, Chelsea and their sponsors are truly demonstrating their commitment to Right To Play. This will spread the message that sport and play have the power to improve the lives of children living in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the world. I am thrilled that Right To Play’s partnership with Chelsea continues to grow and I would like to thank Chelsea and their sponsors Samsung and Adidas for their support.”
The wearing of the charity logo will first show up Tuesday on Chelsea’s new European shirts against Belgian side KRC Genk. It follows a special series of features that appeared The Globe and Mail.
Right To Play is one of hundreds of charity ventures around the world using the popularity of sport to educate and fight against disease and hunger. In the case of Koss’s organization, active in 20 countries, it brings a sense of order and respect in the lives of kids who have grown up in refugee camps.
The Right to Play group has recently dispatched gold medal cyclist Clara Hughes and kayaker Adam van Koeverden to the African country of Mali to oversee the organization’s work with children there.
“As a club we acknowledge the vital role that sport can play in our local and global communities and we are delighted to be leading the way by featuring a charity sponsor on our Champions League shirt,” Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck said in a statement. “Our vision is echoed by our shirt sponsors Samsung and adidas who share our passion for using sport for positive social change.”