March 8th 2022

As the humanitarian crisis worsens in Ukraine as a result of the ongoing invasion by Russia, the world’s largest provider of community sport has announced a major display of support for the nation.

Leisure Leagues – who operate football, netball and hockey leagues on five continents – have changed their company colours from red and for the first time in their almost forty-year history to show their solidarity with the war-torn Baltic State.

Announcing the change, Leisure Leagues Director Tom Nash said: “Like everyone else, the staff at Leisure Leagues have been shocked, saddened and appalled to see the devastation that this conflict as caused. How could you not have been moved by the images of human suffering that have been on the TV and social media in the last couple of weeks?

“We’ve never changed our logo away from red before, but we simply had to out of respect, not just to the people of Ukraine in general, but the many Ukrainians we are proud to have in our network throughout the world.”

At the same time, it was announced that Russia – who are the current reining champions – will not take part in the 6 a side world cup. Leisure Leagues is the power behind the event – which is due to be staged for the third time in June. Mr. Nash explained that Leisure Leagues had pushed for the ban because to do anything other would go against their community ethos: “We believe in the power of sport to bring communities, cultures and ethnicities together, and it was felt very strongly to that to have Russia at the event sent out totally the wrong message, especially to the Ukraine national team.

“The sports we run are all about ordinary people coming together, and to quote Maya Angelou ‘I think we all have empathy. We may not have enough courage to display it.’ Well, we have never been scared to show courage and we are taking leadership throughout the world of sport,” said Mr. Nash.

With over one million players throughout the world, and leagues in countries as diverse as England, Pakistan, Hungary, Lithuania and Australia, Leisure Leagues have led the way in providing sporting opportunities to men and women who were unable to play at the top level and the escape that sport provides is ever more vital at times of crisis.

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