For the 2014/15 season all 60,000 players in the Football League will wear a shirt that includes the charity’s “Man of Men” symbol within their individual squad number. This is the first time a charity’s logo has been included on the strip of every club in the league.
Supporters will also be able to purchase the Prostate Cancer UK-branded player numbers when they buy replica shirts. The aim is to reach more than 16 million fans and raise awareness of the disease, which affects 1 in 8 men.
Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey says: “The Football League is delighted to make this extensive commitment to helping Prostate Cancer UK tackle one of the biggest threats to men’s health. Working together in this way will help save people’s lives.
“I hope it helps raise awareness of the important work they do and encourages more supporters to get a better understanding of the risk that prostate cancer poses.”
The deal follows the launch of Prostate Cancer UK’s “Men united versus prostate cancer” campaign in January with the backing of celebrities including Bill Bailey, Damian Lewis and Sir Michael Parkinson, as well as sportsmen Michael Owen and Will Carling. The Football League has also supported it, with managers wearing pin badges, supporters at games asked to donate and teams promoting the campaign via media channels.
In total, more than 170,000 men have joined the initiative, which aims to drive a change in men’s attitude to health by getting them to talk about and seek advice on issues such as prostate cancer.
Prostate Cancer UK’s director of fundraising Mark Bishop says: “There is an old phrase about safety in numbers when you face a common enemy, and Men United is all about men coming together to fight prostate cancer. Every time a player or a fan pulls on a shirt with a number containing our Man of Men they are helping to save lives because they are raising awareness of an issue that for far too long has been hidden away.”