A formidable team of sporting superstars today joined Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s campaign to tell the world that London is open to all.
From elite athletes and Premier League football clubs to amateur sports teams and grassroots organisations, the capital’s sporting community has lent its support to the Mayor’s #LondonIsOpen campaign. The popular campaign began last month with an aim of spreading the message that, following the EU referendum, London remains united, full of creativity and open for business.
Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Fulham and QPR football clubs and Saracens rugby union club have given their backing, alongside a host of amateur clubs across the capital including boxing, netball and cricket organisations.
The England cricket team, including captain Alastair Cook, has also added its support to #LondonIsOpen, as they host Pakistan in the final test at the Kia Oval this week.
Olympic champion Mo Farah, currently preparing to defend his 10,000 metre gold medal in Rio this weekend, has joined the Mayor in a new video promoting the campaign along with an array of London-based sports clubs. England rugby player Chris Robshaw, professional boxer David Haye, footballer Rio Ferdinand and snowboarder Jenny Jones are also among high-profile names throwing their weight behind #LondonIsOpen in this video, which is launched today.
Surrey County Cricket Club also backed the historic initiative, and released their own version of the campaign’s well received ‘doors open’ film, which features some of the club’s most famous faces, both on the field and behind the scenes, including former England captain Alec Stewart.
Sadiq Khan said: “London is home to some of the most celebrated and accomplished sports men and women on the planet. As well as staging some of the world’s greatest cultural and artistic showcases, we are renowned for hosting top-calibre sporting events and are looking forward to holding the 2017 World Athletics and ParaAthletics Championships next year.
“That is why it is so important that we send the message, loud and clear, that London is open to athletes, major sports clubs, event organisers, sporting bodies and anyone who wants to contribute to the success of our city. It is great to see individuals, clubs, businesses and organisations of all shapes and sizes getting behind the #LondonIsOpen campaign so passionately. It truly reflects our city’s open and tolerant spirit.”
Mo Farah CBE, double Olympic, European Athletics and World champion and the UK’s greatest ever distance runner, said: “London is my home town and the greatest city in the world! I will never forget the support I got back in 2012 – the roar of the crowd in the Olympic Stadium, but also the whole city getting behind Team GB and driving us on to victory. London is open to an amazing world of sport for everyone, so get inspired and get involved!”
The starting idea for the #LondonIsOpen campaign is built around London opening its doors to welcome people in. Sadiq is urging all Londoners, organisations and businesses to show their support for the #LondonIsOpen message via social media and videos and photos of doors opening around London to welcome people in.
Alec Stewart, Director of Cricket at Surrey CCC, said: “Surrey play their matches at the Kia Oval in the heart of central London – and have done since 1845. We are proud to be a diverse and historic club and, over the years, have welcomed players from all around the globe, mirroring the diversity of our city in our club. We are proud to support this campaign, London is Open and the Kia Oval is Open.”
Jenny Jones, professional snowboarder and the first Briton to win an Olympic medal in a snow event, said: “Whatever your chosen sport, the facilities on offer in London are second to none. With all eyes on Britain’s best athletes this summer, there’s no better time to get inspired and take advantage of the incredible sporting opportunities on London’s doorstep.”
Harlequins and England rugby player Chris Robshaw, said: “I’ve been lucky enough to travel the world thanks to rugby, and yet nowhere compares to London when it comes to sport – I’m proud to call this city my home, and to play here for both club and country. The opportunities to get involved in sport in London are endless, so whatever your sporting passion, be it rugby, swimming, netball or something much lesser known, London is open to every kind of sport imaginable.”
Sarah Brookes, Fulham Football Club’s Communications and Marketing Director: “Fulham Football Club is proud to support the #londonisopen campaign. Fulham has a fantastic history and tradition and, established in 1879, can boast being London’s oldest professional football club. The Club’s owner Shahid Khan understands how important London is to world sport, which is why his Jacksonville Jaguars NFL team plays at Wembley each year.”
A spokesperson for the Saracens said: “As a club we’re proud to call London our home and the level of support we get from our fans is next to none. London truly has cemented itself as a global sporting capital and we’re delighted to be part of such an exciting sporting legacy.”