Aviva and Proud Canaries have teamed up to establish Proud Canaries FC, forming part of Aviva’s campaign to celebrate the inclusive and diverse nature of football from the amateur level to the elite.
The new team is officially backed and fully supported by Norwich City Football Club and will proudly wear the Club’s colours and fly the Canary flag in a summer tournament.
The ground-breaking partnership with Aviva, Norwich City’s Community Partner following nine years as the main Club sponsor, not only aims to celebrate the inclusive ethos in football which Proud Canaries embodies and promotes, but also to recognise the significant value the supporters’ group brings to the local Norfolk community and beyond.
As part of its commitment as the inaugural main sponsor of ‘Proud Canaries Football Club’, Aviva will provide ongoing support and funding in a number of beneficial ways. The newly formed team will be presented with brand-new Norwich City bespoke match kit, featuring Aviva Pride and Stonewall as kit sponsors, as well as Rainbow Laces for all registered players to wear in their boots during matches.
Aviva will also provide Proud Canaries with a level of funding to ensure they can function as an established club not only during the current season, but also until the end of the 2018-2019 season, to ensure they can continue to embody and represent the inclusive, fun and loyal nature of the game.
The recruitment process for players and a manager is now underway. Aviva, Proud Canaries and Norwich City would encourage anyone interested to get in touch with the Proud Canaries’ Director of Football Di Cunningham, who can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Once the team has been recruited, a series of training sessions will be arranged by Aviva at an official Norwich City training venue, which will announced in due course. Training will begin in late January.
The training sessions will culminate in an end of season LGBT-inclusive tournament, which will be played at Norwich City’s Carrow Road stadium in May. The tournament will see the newly-formed Proud Canaries FC face a number of other LGBT-affiliated football club supporter groups, whose involvement will be announced over the coming months.
Established by Di Cunningham in February 2014, Proud Canaries is Norwich City’s LGBT Fans and Friends Group and works with the club to make Carrow Road – the Club's stadium – a safer and more pleasant place for everyone by promoting the inclusion and challenging discrimination. They are proud to be the second officially recognised LGBT football supporters’ group in the country, and have an overarching vision to ‘challenge discrimination for better enjoyment of the beautiful game.’
The sponsorship deepens Aviva’s long-standing ties with Norwich City, and continues their long tradition of supporting community-focused activity throughout Norfolk, from existing projects such as Aviva Matchday Buddies and the schools-based Aviva Footy Finance programme, to its support of the Norwich City Community Sports Foundation and the title sponsorship of the Norwich City Legends vs Inter Forever charity fixture in May.
Di Cunningham said: “Norwich City have been always been pioneers for inclusion – from revering the iconic Justin Fashanu to celebrating their LGBT+ fanbase – so it's no surprise that they're teaming up with Aviva to promote diversity and inclusion on the Carrow Road pitch. I can't wait to see the new Proud Canaries FC squad start training in January and build towards a national LGBT+ tournament at Carrow Road in May. OTBC!"
Jan Gooding, Aviva’s Global Inclusion Director and a member of the Stonewall board, said: “The establishment of Proud Canaries FC is extremely welcome and a moment to celebrate. It is yet another demonstration of the shared commitment of Aviva and our partners at Norwich City to make football everyone’s game, and to take a zero tolerance stand against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in sport.”
Steve Stone, Norwich City Managing Director, added: “It’s great to see that Di and Proud Canaries are launching Proud Canaries FC and we are very happy to be joining Aviva in officially supporting them and celebrating our shared aims of inclusivity and diversity. They are a great group, brilliant supporters of the Club and we look forward to watching them in action at Carrow Road!”