Date: 10th February 2009 at 8:31am
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Sheffield Wednesday today became the first Championship club to donate its shirt sponsorship to a charitable cause.

Following the lead of Spanish giants Barcelona (who support Unicef) and top Premier League club Aston Villa (who are associated with the Acorn Children’s Hospice), Owls chairman Lee Strafford today announced that the club’s shirt sponsorship for the next two seasons will go to The Children’s Hospital, Sheffield and its charity.

Strafford told the official web site: ‘We are proud to say loud and clear that Sheffield Wednesday wants to break the current football mould by getting away from the perception that football is just about money. Bringing together key stakeholders in Sheffield to drive local and national value is a key part of our strategy.’

‘Certainly, a commercial shirt sponsorship deal can be very lucrative. However, we feel that there is much more value in supporting an organisation within our city that provides a vital service to people in need, not just to those in our own region but to children across the country. It is vital that that we, as a celebrated football club with a strong heritage, play a responsible role in the community which surrounds us.’

Children’s Hospital chief executive Chris Sharrat was pleased with the approach from the Owls: ‘This sponsorship represents an outstanding offer of support by Sheffield Wednesday for the work that the hospital and our charity do and the great many children and their families from all across the country that we see every day. To have our name across the Wednesday shirt will raise awareness of our hospital across the country and indeed around the world. It also gives us a fantastic opportunity to work together with the club to use the pull of football to introduce exciting health initiatives with children in the communities across the city region.’

Amazing news: it can only benefit the Owls, the charity and the community in general and is a strong and clear sign that the Owls chairman is confident of his other sources of funding.