By Ken Reed

Holding a prominent spot in the “Sports Doing Good” category is Bohemian Football Club, a Dublin team that plays in the highest tier of soccer in Ireland.

Bohemian FC has a well-deserved reputation of using its high profile platform to champion social causes. Their most recent effort is to attack homelessness in Ireland. The club has teamed with Grammy-nominated band Fontaines D.C. and Focus Ireland to help solve the homelessness crisis in Ireland.

Bohemian FC has an away jersey that features both Fontaines D.C. and Focus Ireland, a national organization that targets homelessness. Focus Ireland will receive 15% of jersey sales profits.

“We know that football and music both have enormous power to reach people and engage people,” said Bohemians’ chief operating officer, Daniel Lambert.

“Homelessness is not something that must exist, it can, and it should be solved, and we need to ensure as a society that it is not normalized and accepted.”

According to Pat Dennigan, CEO of Focus Ireland, there are 8,500 people homeless in Ireland and 2,500 of them are children. “This is wrong and unacceptable,” said Dennigan.

Homelessness isn’t the only issue Bohemian FC is tackling. They run various activities for older people, have programs for prisoners at Mountjoy prison, campaign for marriage equality and advocate for refugees. Recently, the club appointed a climate justice officer to help understand and reduce its negative environmental impact.

The Bohemians, as a top tier sports organization, are committed to having a net positive impact on society and using football as a force for good whenever possible.

Imagine the possibilities in the United States if franchises like the New York Yankees, Boston Celtics or Los Angeles Lakers felt a similar sense of obligation. Yes, franchises like these, and others, do some positive things in their communities, but a lot of those efforts are simply PR-driven. These iconic American sports franchises are primarily fueled by win-at-all-costs (WAAC) and profit-at-all-costs (PAAC) ethos.

But there’s nothing saying elite sports organizations can’t also positively impact society by aggressively addressing social and environmental problems.

Bohemian FC is showing the way.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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