Cure Leukaemia Named Flutter UK&I Charity Partner
The announcement will see Cure Leukaemia work alongside Flutter UK and Ireland for the next 12 months
Women from companies and organisations across the country will battle it out in the flagship six-a-side competition alongside a host of ex-pros boasting over 400 England caps between them, including the likes of Sue Smith, Lianne Sanderson, Rachel Unitt and Katie Chapman – with more to be confirmed ahead of the event.
The 2024 edition of the tournament will prove to be a competitive affair this year with the likes of Amazon, ITV Sport, SalesForce, the Premier League, Women in Football, Carling, Booths, PwC and The Mirror all lacing up their football boots alongside their former heroes in the fight against blood cancer.
Sky Sports’ Pundit and former Lioness Sue Smith has taken part in multiple Copa Del Cure Leukaemia events at the home of England football and was eager to get involved in the charities’ first-ever all-female event last year, as she prepares to return in 2024.
“It has been absolutely brilliant,” she said. “When I was first invited to the mixed event, I loved it. I thought it was brilliant and the atmosphere was great. I think obviously it’s a fantastic cause, we all know that, and I think the fact of bringing football together is always a powerful thing.
“When I think back to when we first spoke about it (a female-only competition) and we had discussions and we said wouldn’t it be great if we could get an all-female event and then you just think, well it would be nice, but will it happen? It’s actually quite a nice little reunion.
“I’ve caught up with some of my old teammates and it’s funny because some of them have said “oh I haven’t played for so many years and I’ve never changed direction in about three years. We all said the same thing, we miss that team spirit, that team togetherness and competitive competition which is great, and I think you’re playing in fantastic facilities, which the Lionesses themselves use on a regular basis.”
Fara Williams MBE, who hung up her boots at the end of the 2020/21 season, was also delighted with the call-up for the first edition of the tournament last year and the opportunity to help raise money for such a vital cause.
“It is such a great day,” she said. “When I was first asked to do it, I jumped at the chance to put my football boots back on and come out. I didn’t know what to expect to be honest, I didn’t know how many women at this age and this ability would be interested but I was blown away by them and how big the tournament was.
The day is set to be rounded-off with an evening meal, awards ceremony and question and answer session with a handful of the ex-pros alongside Sky Sports’ Presenter Johnny Phillips and TalkSport’s Natalie Sawyer to discuss the growth of the women’s game and the importance of Cure Leukaemia’s work, as well as reflect on some of their memories from their playing days.
The participation of over 180 women from all over the country is another indication of the incredible growth of the game. Players have the opportunity to live a day as a Lioness at St George’s Park and play with or against some of their heroes, who have certainly still got it.