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4 December 2016, 06:58
Bournemouth's footballers are backing a campaign raising awareness about domestic violence, during today's game against Liverpool.
The players will be led out at Vitality Stadium by women who've survived abusive relationships - and warm-up in tops supporting the Women's Aid campaign. Bournemouth will be the first Premier League team led onto the pitch by women.
Fans travelling to Vitality Stadium for the match will be able to show their support with limited edition pin badges being handed out on the day, and find out from posters, leaflets and an article in the official match day programme.
On the pitch, players and Cherry Bear will warm up wearing AFCB shirts with branding designed specifically for the match, and players leaving the tunnel to start the match will be escorted by members of the Safer Poole team, charity ambassador Charlie Webster and domestic violence survivors who will walk out in front of the players carrying the campaign flag.
AFCB Chairman Jeff Mostyn will also be helping to promote the campaign, swapping his Women's Aid shirt with a representative from Liverpool FC. Players and members will also be signing a giant pledge board on the day.
Anthi Minhinnick, Community Safety Partnership Manager, Borough of Poole, said:
"We have worked very hard to bring Football United Against Domestic Violence to AFC Bournemouth. We know that research has shown that rates of domestic violence escalate during key football games, and we are so proud that Safer Poole is leading the way in this campaign and helping to confront domestic violence that is influenced by the results of football matches. Our thanks go to the team and staff for their support."
Jeff Mostyn, Chairman of AFC Bournemouth, added:
"We are very proud to support this worthy campaign. We wouldn't tolerate violence on the pitch, and through this campaign we hope to show that we won't tolerate it anywhere else. We are especially excited to see Charlie and the survivors lead the team out, the first time the team will ever have been led out by women."
Charlie Webster, who is a Women's Aid and Football United Against Domestic Violence campaign Ambassador, said:
"I am so pleased to be appearing at the Vitality Stadium, domestic abuse is a cause very close to my heart and I know if we raise awareness then we can really make a difference to the lives of those living with abuse at home. Thank you so much to AFC Bournemouth for speaking out about domestic violence and joining this important campaign, and for the Safer Poole Partnership for championing the campaign in their community. The only way we will ever end domestic abuse, is if we stand united against it. Please join me in supporting the campaign."
Football United Against Domestic Violence is a campaign by Women's Aid, working with national footballing bodies, sports media, football clubs, the police, players and fans to send a clear message that domestic violence is always unacceptable. Find out more at https://www.womensaid.org.uk/