England and Manchester City and England midfielder Jack Grealish has signed up to Special Olympics GB as a principal ambassador campaigning for greater inclusion in sport.
Grealish has committed to a long-term role with the aim of raising the visibility of the charity’s work and driving support and opportunities for the one and a half million people who live with intellectual disabilities in Great Britain today.
The non-profit organization, the largest provider of year-round sports training and competition for children and adults of all abilities with intellectual disabilities, hopes to benefit from the platform provided by the most expensive English player ever.
Grealish said: “I’ve been thinking for some time about how I can best use the football platform has given me to create a positive change, and it had to be something really close to my heart.
“Special Olympics GB is such an important organization, playing a huge role in tackling the lack of inclusion for hundreds of thousands of kids in the UK with intellectual disabilities.
“Nobody should be excluded from opportunities, and I can not stand bullying or discrimination. In my new role with Special Olympics GB, I’m proud to stand side-by-side with all the children, young people and adults living with intellectual disabilities, and the incredible families who support them.
“I hope that everyone in Great Britain gets behind Special Olympics GB and its incredible athletes and volunteers. So please follow Special Olympics GB on their social channels and together we can start to make a real difference.”
Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities, Special Olympics now reaches more than five million athletes in over 190 countries.
Unlike the Olympics and Paralympics which focuses on elite sport with events every four years, Special Olympics aims to offer opportunities for athletes of all abilities to take part in a range of sport every day of the week, every week of the year.
Colin Dyer, CEO of Special Olympics GB said: “Everyone at Special Olympics is delighted and excited Jack has agreed to join Special Olympics GB as a principal ambassador.
“After a truly challenging time for many people during the pandemic, particularly those with intellectual disabilities, there is so much positive momentum in Special Olympics GB at this time, it is the perfect moment to welcome Jack to the family.
“We look forward to continuing to add to our diverse group of Ambassadors to accompany Jack on his new mission with Special Olympics GB in the near future.”
Niall Guite, Special Olympics World Games gold medallist, said: “I love football so much and it’s amazing to be on the same team as Jack Grealish.
“To have such an important player and public figure supporting our community gives us all so much energy and motivation. Thanks Jack and welcome to Special Olympics GB!”
Special Olympics GB has ambitious growth plans for 2022 including the return to full-scale competition from June to September with the largest celebration of intellectual disability sport in Great Britain with a brand-new format, The Special Olympics GB Summer Series of Sport.
And 2023 is also set to be a big year for Special Olympics GB with the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Berlin next June.
Special Olympics Great Britain (GB), set up in 1978, is a non-profit charity which provides year-round sports coaching and athletic competition in summer and winter sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. To find out more, visit the website here.