Nearly 50 sports stars and industry figures, including Lawrence Dallaglio, Paula Radcliffe, Martin Glenn, Colin Graves and Neil Lennon, have today signed a letter urging Britain to stay in the EU by arguing that “we are stronger working together”.
The list of signatories also features Kyran Bracken, Bobby George, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Greg Dyke, Peter Coates, Steve Cram, Neville Southall, Ben Ainslie and Daniel Levy.
The letter comes on the same day that David Beckham and Rio Ferdinand have both thrown their support behind the campaign to keep Britain in the EU.
In the letter, the signatories say:
“In sport, the one thing that matters above all else is your team. Whether on the football pitch or running track, in the pool or in the gym, you can achieve so much more by working together. And the same is true for Britain in Europe: we are stronger working together with other countries with the ability to travel, work and play sport right across the continent.
“To remain a world leader in sport, we need to remain in the European Union. And that's why we'll be voting to remain on 23rd June.”
Writing for the London Evening Standard, Rio Ferdinand said:
“Sir Alex Ferguson always taught us that no individual is bigger than the team — that just because we played for Manchester United didn’t mean we could swan around doing our own thing. We had to work even harder, and be even more of a team, to get where we wanted to be.
“I think Europe is a bit like that. Britain is an amazing country but we’ll achieve much more if we’re a team player – working with others to get things done. I believe we need to work with our friends and neighbours in Europe if we want to make changes our children can be proud of.
“The sort of things young people care about: tackling climate change, helping refugees, fighting disease in Africa — they can only get fixed if we all work together.”
- David Beckham’s Facebook post can be seen here: https://www.facebook.com/Beckham/photos/a.146755971570.121766.84218631570/10153494743056571/?type=3&theater
- Rio Ferdinand was writing in the London Evening Standard: http://www.standard.co.uk/comment/comment/rio-ferdinand-why-the-eu-referendum-has-made-me-want-to-vote-for-the-first-time-a3277121.html
Full text of the letter:
With Euro 2016 well under way, and the Rio Olympics and Paralympics approaching, Britain is gearing up for an exciting summer of sport.
The pride of Great Britain at London 2012 showed how we can punch above our weight with a haul of medals beyond many people's wildest dreams. But we need to continue to invest in talent at the grassroots and, for the thousands of young people starting out in their sport, every last penny is vital. At the moment, EU funding promotes UK sport at the local level and funding for school sport is essential too, and this is at risk if we decide to leave.
And, for the fans following their teams across Europe, being able to hop on a low-cost flight without a visa makes it easy to do - both things for which we have the EU to thank.
In sport, the one thing that matters above all else is your team. Whether on the football pitch or running track, in the pool or in the gym, you can achieve so much more by working together. And the same is true for Britain in Europe: we are stronger working together with other countries with the ability to travel, work and play sport right across the continent.
To remain a world leader in sport, we need to remain in the European Union. And that's why we'll be voting to remain on 23rd June.
Full list of signatories:
- Allison Curbishley - Former British Athlete
- Ali Jawad - IPC powerlifting World and European Champion
- Anna Turney - Paralympic Skiier
- Ben Ainslie - 4 time Olympic gold medallist
- Bobby George - Former Professional Darts player
- Carol Galashan - Commonwealth Games athlete and former Olympic gymnast
- Catherine Bishop OBE - 2004 Olympic Silver medallist
- Colin Graves - Chairman of the ECB
- Daniel Levy – Executive Chairman of Tottenham Hotspur
- Dave Moorcroft - Former 5,000m world record holder
- David Dein - Former Vice-Chairman of Arsenal and the FA
- David Sullivan – Co-Chairman of West Ham United
- Delia Smith - Joint Majority Shareholder of Norwich City FC (signing in a personal capacity)
- Emma Pallant - 2 time World Duathlon Champion
- Frank Warren - Boxing Promoter and Chairman of Box Nation
- Gary Mabbutt – Former professional footballer
- Georgia Francis – Rowing U23 World Champion Silver medallist
- Gérard Houllier - Former Liverpool and Aston Villa manager
- Greg Dyke – Chairman of the FA
- Hannah Beharry - Nine times British boxing Champion, two times European medallist
- Julien Allwood - Triple Jumper
- Jarvis Astaire OBE – Former boxing promoter
- Johnny Nelson – Former WBO Cruiserweight Champion
- Kate Haywood - British Record Holder for the 100m Breaststroke
- Kyran Bracken – Rugby World Cup winner
- Lawrence Dallaglio - Former England Rugby World Cup winner
- Lee Hoos - CEO of Queens Park Rangers
- Lee Shinkin - 7 times National Judo Champion
- Lily van den Broecke - Paralympic Gold medallist at London 2012
- Mark Abberley - CEO British Taekwondo
- Martin Glenn - CEO of the FA
- Meg George - Former USA Rowing Team Member
- Mike Garlick - Chairman of Burnley FC
- Neil Lennon – Hibernian manager and former Norther Ireland international
- Neville Southall - Former Everton and Wales goalkeeper
- Paula Radcliffe - British long distance runner
- Peter Coates - Chairman of Stoke City FC
- Peter Reid – Former Sunderland manager and England midfielder
- Peter Storrie - Former CEO of Portsmouth
- Rachael HeyHoe Flint OBE - Former England Women’s Cricket Captain
- Robert Elstone - CEO of Everton
- Sam Brearey - Sailing World Champion
- Stuart Hayes - 2012 Olympic Triathlete
- Steve Cram - World, Olympic, European and Commonwealth medallist
- Sophie Newnes - 3 time World Martial Arts Champion, National Jujitsu Champion
- Tanni Grey-Thompson – 11 times Paralympic Gold medallist