Football clubs unite to fight County Lines exploitation

Using the reach and power of football, Liverpool FC, Everton FC, Tranmere Rovers FC, and Marine FC in partnership with Crimestoppers are engaging young people with a strong clear message: Enough is Enough.

Too many young people are being groomed and exploited on Merseyside by drug gangs and becoming involved in County Lines.

On 20 October the clubs came together at Marine to stage their third football tournament and County Lines prevention event. The tournament was for teams of boys and girls from year 7 who represented each of the four football clubs on Merseyside that are part of Crimestoppers Four Clubs One Goal initiative: Everton, Liverpool, Marine and Tranmere.

The round-robin football tournament was interspersed with short sessions on how young people are being groomed and exploited, and how to report via Crimestoppers and Fearless anonymously.

The teams who represented each club won their place in the finals after competing in tournaments held by each club over the preceding week. The goal of the day was to deliver a powerful message that County Lines destroys lives.

It highlighted that young people can take part in the wide range of activities that each club provides to help and support them throughout the year, through the work of their Community Foundations. Liverpool Legend Chris Kirkland and Everton legend and club

Ambassador Ian Snodin presented the medals to all those who took part, and trophies to the winners of the boys’ and girls’ events.

David Fairclough, Crimestoppers Volunteer and Liverpool Legend, said, “It was a fantastic day with some very competitive matches, but all played in a great spirit.

“Football is a great way to engage with young people and if what the young people heard during the day stops one young person getting involved in County Lines, then we have been successful in our aim of reducing crime on Merseyside.

“Tragically, young people often think they have no choice, but there is help and support available and young people have a simple way through Crimestoppers and Fearless to report those who are targeting them.”

Ian Snodin, Everton Ambassador and club Legend, said, “It’s fantastic to see such a great turnout for the Four Clubs One Goal Tournament and I’m delighted to be involved again.

“Any event that is aiming to tackle County Lines in this city is to be fully supported by everyone. We’ve all seen the devastation this can cause and we need to do all we can to stop it.”

Nigel Adkins, Tranmere Rovers manager, said, “It’s encouraging to see the four clubs, Tranmere with Everton, Liverpool and Marine, collaborating for good in this way and to educate children about the signs of crime at an age where they can then use the skills and experience they have gained as they go into their teenage years.

“This is a project which shows the power of sport as a vehicle for societal change, and that clubs can unite and work together to bring that change.”

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