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Housing

Premier League clubs and players are raising awareness of homelessness despite league bosses’ snub

The Premier League said Shelter’s plan to ask home teams to wear away kits on Boxing Day was against league rules – but players and clubs are supporting it in different ways.

The Premier League scored an own goal when it said home teams couldn’t wear their away kit on Boxing Day to raise awareness of homelessness despite clubs at almost all levels of the football pyramid backing the plan.

The No Home Kit campaign was judged to be against Premier League rules and was later voted down at a shareholders’ meeting.

But some players and fans are showing their support anyway.

Burnley captain Ben Mee posted a photo of himself in a Clarets away kit on Twitter on Wednesday and challenged former team-mate and Manchester United goalkeeper Tom Heaton to follow suit as well as radio presenter Jordan North.

Mee wore the shirt as he scored the winner against Crystal Palace in June 2020 while his daughter Olive was in hospital after being born 16 weeks prematurely.

Mee said: “No one should be without a home. So I’ve swapped my home shirt for this away kit to support Shelter. Scored a goal in this kit while my daughter Olive was in hospital so means a lot to me.”

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The Premier League’s opposition has not stopped Tottenham Hotspur, Everton, Brighton and Hove Albion, Brentford and Watford from calling on supporters to wear their away kit to support the campaign.

Spurs revealed more of their plans to get around the Premier League’s ban on Thursday. Spurs players will wear away shirts during the pre-match warm-up on Boxing Day, while the club donated food to Shelter’s London hub ahead of the game.

Midfielder Harry Winks said Spurs were “proud to support” the campaign and urged fans to tweet a photo of themselves wearing a changed kit on Boxing Day as the north London side hosts Crystal Palace.

Daniel Levy, Spurs chairman, said: “Boxing Day is a special occasion in the football calendar when we see many families come together to support their teams up and down the country. 

“Yet there are thousands in the UK who will not be able to enjoy the festivities and do not have a place to call home. It is vital we show our support for #NoHomeKit to raise awareness for homelessness and are proud to support the #NoHomeKit campaign.”

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Meanwhile, support from lower down the football has not been in short supply and one former Spurs striker and Premier League great is helping a non-league club boost their support.

Peter Crouch was snapped modelling Dulwich Hamlet’s one-off changed kit on Wednesday. The special kit will be auctioned off after the side’s Boxing Day clash with Welling United to raise money for Shelter’s campaign.

Meanwhile, new research released by Shelter ahead of the Boxing Day fixtures underlined the urgent need for homelessness to be tackled.

The housing charity estimates that 200,000 children living in privately rented homes are at risk of being evicted this winter – equivalent to one in every 50 children in England.

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Polly Neate, Shelter chief executive, said: “Thousands of families are teetering on a cliff edge. It’s only with the public’s support that we’ll be able to keep answering calls and help as many of them as possible keep the bailiffs at bay.”

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