Below is the text of the press release issued by Britain Stronger In Europe on 21 June 2016.
Nearly 50 sports stars and industry figures, including Lawrence Dallaglio, Paula Radcliffe, Martin Glenn, Colin Graves and Neil Lennon, have today signed a letter urging Britain to stay in the EU by arguing that “we are stronger working together”.
The list of signatories also features Kyran Bracken, Bobby George, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Greg Dyke, Peter Coates, Steve Cram, Neville Southall, Ben Ainslie and Daniel Levy.
The letter comes on the same day that David Beckham and Rio Ferdinand have both thrown their support behind the campaign to keep Britain in the EU.
In the letter, the signatories say:
“In sport, the one thing that matters above all else is your team. Whether on the football pitch or running track, in the pool or in the gym, you can achieve so much more by working together. And the same is true for Britain in Europe: we are stronger working together with other countries with the ability to travel, work and play sport right across the continent.
“To remain a world leader in sport, we need to remain in the European Union. And that’s why we’ll be voting to remain on 23rd June.”
Writing for the London Evening Standard, Rio Ferdinand said:
“Sir Alex Ferguson always taught us that no individual is bigger than the team — that just because we played for Manchester United didn’t mean we could swan around doing our own thing. We had to work even harder, and be even more of a team, to get where we wanted to be.
“I think Europe is a bit like that. Britain is an amazing country but we’ll achieve much more if we’re a team player – working with others to get things done. I believe we need to work with our friends and neighbours in Europe if we want to make changes our children can be proud of.
“The sort of things young people care about: tackling climate change, helping refugees, fighting disease in Africa — they can only get fixed if we all work together.”
Full text of the letter:
With Euro 2016 well under way, and the Rio Olympics and Paralympics approaching, Britain is gearing up for an exciting summer of sport.
The pride of Great Britain at London 2012 showed how we can punch above our weight with a haul of medals beyond many people’s wildest dreams. But we need to continue to invest in talent at the grassroots and, for the thousands of young people starting out in their sport, every last penny is vital. At the moment, EU funding promotes UK sport at the local level and funding for school sport is essential too, and this is at risk if we decide to leave.
And, for the fans following their teams across Europe, being able to hop on a low-cost flight without a visa makes it easy to do – both things for which we have the EU to thank.
In sport, the one thing that matters above all else is your team. Whether on the football pitch or running track, in the pool or in the gym, you can achieve so much more by working together. And the same is true for Britain in Europe: we are stronger working together with other countries with the ability to travel, work and play sport right across the continent.
To remain a world leader in sport, we need to remain in the European Union. And that’s why we’ll be voting to remain on 23rd June.
Full list of signatories:
Allison Curbishley – Former British Athlete
Ali Jawad – IPC powerlifting World and European Champion
Anna Turney – Paralympic Skiier
Ben Ainslie – 4 time Olympic gold medallist
Bobby George – Former Professional Darts player
Carol Galashan – Commonwealth Games athlete and former Olympic gymnast
Catherine Bishop OBE – 2004 Olympic Silver medallist
Colin Graves – Chairman of the ECB
Daniel Levy – Executive Chairman of Tottenham Hotspur
Dave Moorcroft – Former 5,000m world record holder
David Dein – Former Vice-Chairman of Arsenal and the FA
David Sullivan – Co-Chairman of West Ham United
Delia Smith – Joint Majority Shareholder of Norwich City FC (signing in a personal capacity)
Emma Pallant – 2 time World Duathlon Champion
Frank Warren – Boxing Promoter and Chairman of Box Nation
Gary Mabbutt – Former professional footballer
Georgia Francis – Rowing U23 World Champion Silver medallist
Gérard Houllier – Former Liverpool and Aston Villa manager
Greg Dyke – Chairman of the FA
Hannah Beharry – Nine times British boxing Champion, two times European medallist
Julien Allwood – Triple Jumper
Jarvis Astaire OBE – Former boxing promoter
Johnny Nelson – Former WBO Cruiserweight Champion
Kate Haywood – British Record Holder for the 100m Breaststroke
Kyran Bracken – Rugby World Cup winner
Lawrence Dallaglio – Former England Rugby World Cup winner
Lee Hoos – CEO of Queens Park Rangers
Lee Shinkin – 7 times National Judo Champion
Lily van den Broecke – Paralympic Gold medallist at London 2012
Mark Abberley – CEO British Taekwondo
Martin Glenn – CEO of the FA
Meg George – Former USA Rowing Team Member
Mike Garlick – Chairman of Burnley FC
Neil Lennon – Hibernian manager and former Norther Ireland international
Neville Southall – Former Everton and Wales goalkeeper
Paula Radcliffe – British long distance runner
Peter Coates – Chairman of Stoke City FC
Peter Reid – Former Sunderland manager and England midfielder
Peter Storrie – Former CEO of Portsmouth
Rachael HeyHoe Flint OBE – Former England Women’s Cricket Captain
Robert Elstone – CEO of Everton
Sam Brearey – Sailing World Champion
Stuart Hayes – 2012 Olympic Triathlete
Steve Cram – World, Olympic, European and Commonwealth medallist
Sophie Newnes – 3 time World Martial Arts Champion, National Jujitsu Champion
Tanni Grey-Thompson – 11 times Paralympic Gold medallist