Watch: ITV Meridian's Kit Bradshaw reports on the Premier League trophy's visit to Brighton
Brighton and Hove Albion has celebrated the impact of Premier League funding on community football, as the trophy visited the city.
A number of events were held today (30 August) to mark its visit, which is part of a seven-week tour of England and Wales to mark the competition’s 30th anniversary.
Among those able to see it up close were children taking part in school holiday football training sessions, arranged by the club’s charity arm Albion in the Community.
The ‘Soccer School’ had 2,000 places booked this summer, with some benefiting from free sessions as part of a project to help youngsters on free school meals.
Brighton superfan Balentin Borisov, aged 8, was one of those to benefit this year, having recently arrived in Hove as a refugee with his family, fleeing the war in their native Ukraine.
“This is a dream come true for Balentin,” explained his father Sergei. “He’s seen Brighton play, he’s taken part in the football school, he’s very happy and I’m very happy too.”
Balentin said: “My football trainer always says don’t be rude, have fun and don’t be sad.”
Albion in the Community – which receives annual Premier League funding – is also celebrating the 25th anniversary of its disability programme.
Chair of Trustees, Martin Perry, told ITV News Meridian: “The [Albion in the Community] programme costs something like £3 million a year to run and the support from the Premier League is an absolutely vital element of that.
“We’re so grateful to them because it allows us to do so much, not just with people living with disabilities, but schools’ programmes, and the development of the womens and girls game as well.”
Eight-year-old Balentin Borisov and his father, Sergei, came to the UK this year from Ukraine
Each club being visited by the Premier League trophy this summer was asked to nominate someone for a ‘Community Captain’ award.
Brighton’s winner was Dan Coppard, part of Albion’s national league amputee team and a coach for the charity’s community disability football sessions.
Since its first day, on 15 August 1992, the Premier League has been broadcast to 800million homes in 188 countries.
The trophy is on a seven-week tour of England and Wales to celebrate the league’s 30th anniversary.