Paddy Power has launched its newest ‘#SaveOurGame’ initiative to support grassroots Irish football ahead of the 2020 UEFA European Championships, which kick off on Friday.
As part of the campaign, the bookmaker has pledged to donate €10,000 to Irish football every time Gareth Southgate’s England side find the back of the net for the duration of this summer’s edition of the continental competition.
In addition, Paddy Power added that it will double the sum to €20,000, should either Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish or West Ham midfielder Declan Rice – both of whom began their international careers with the Republic of Ireland – make the score-sheet as a ‘backstabber bonus’.
The bookmaker has also enlisted the help of Irish media personality and champion for sport in the country, Eamon Dunphy, and Virgin Media pundit, Damien Delaney, who rose up through the League of Ireland ranks to play in the Premier League.
Marking the campaign, the pair ‘pinned their colours to the mast’ to unveil a St George’s cross flag at Bray Wanderers’ Carlisle Grounds.
Dunphy, who will act as a ‘watchdog’ to oversee the financial distribution process, said upon the launch: “I’m here to make sure Paddy doesn’t spend the money on ice sculptures or call this a bridging loan. You have to admit, there’s a bittersweet irony to the prospect of a Southgate squad featuring Jack Grealish and Declan Rice being responsible for improving the state of Irish football.
“We all know about the need to ensure funding finds its way into the right hands in this country. The only approach we hadn’t considered was drop-kicking bags of cash over the gates of rural clubs until Paddy Power called.
“The #SaveOurGame campaign could mean a senior club gets their leaky roof fixed because Harry Kane found the back of the net. But I think it goes without saying that we hope England score loads and lose in a penalty shoot-out in the final!”
Dunphy and Delaney have called on representatives from clubs with senior teams nationwide to back the campaign to raise much needed funds, which is capped at €100,000, for the Irish game.