Councillor Tim Crowley calls on Sutton Council to rethink Chelsea plans after John Terry row
A councillor has said Sutton Council should reconsider a controversial link-up with Chelsea FC in the wake of the John Terry racism row.
Sutton Council has signed a contract where it will pay Chelsea FC, one of the richest clubs in the world, £60,000, to amongst other things, "increase engagement levels and profile for the Sutton Life Centre".
At this week's council meeting, Jill Whitehead, chairwoman of the council's environment and neighbourhood committee, confirmed the scheme had started.
The scheme initially caused controversy because it was argued the council should not have to pay Chelsea, understood to be worth £474m, for them to take part in the scheme.
At the same meeting Conservative councillor Tim Crowley, said that with Chelsea affirming John Terry as Captain of the club despite being found guilty last month by the FA for using racial and abusive language the council should reconsider the proposals.
The scheme, which started on November 1, includes a borough wide healthy eating programme for schools as well as a social inclusion programme, and a plan to tackle absenteeism in schools as well as a high profile launch.
He said: "Does the council still think it is right to align itself with a club that rewards and tolerates these actions?"
"Can I ask what sort of an example will it set to youngsters if we continue to pursue our affiliation with the club through our tie up with Chelsea?"
Councillor Whitehead, said in a statement: "The council’s relationship is with the Chelsea Football Charitable Foundation, not the football club itself. The Foundation has a proven track record of undertaking a great deal of valuable work for young people and community groups promoting equalities and community cohesion. It is for this work and expertise that we have a Partnership Agreement."
Councillor Miguel Javelot, lead member for sport, said: "The council has agreed to work with the Chelsea Football Club Charitable Foundation (CFCF) to take forward a programme of activity over the next 12 months, which will include getting people more active, tackling obesity, encouraging healthy eating and addressing anti-social behaviour.
As part of this exciting programme, CFCF has appointed a co-ordinator, who will be working with local clubs and organisations.
"The project will provide Sutton’s young people with opportunities for improving their lives and also help the borough apply for sources of external funding which we would not be otherwise eligible for."