The EPIC Risk Management Man of the Match Award will once again be a feature of matchdays at Deepdale during the 2023/24 season, ensuring each Preston North End player’s favourite charity benefits every time they win the award.
Launched last summer, the concept is backed by EPIC, the globally leading independent gambling harm minimisation consultancy which seeks to prevent problem gambling by working with a diverse range of global clients including all 72 EFL clubs, the MLS Players Association and the elite NCAA college network in the US.
They have brought a new charitable approach to the traditional man of the match concept, donating £500 to the award winner’s nominated good cause after every game. This has seen a wide range of worthy initiatives close to the players’ hearts benefiting throughout the first season, with national and international causes like Oddballs Foundation and Galway Hospice receiving donations alongside more local causes, such as Rainbow Hub, St Catherine’s Hospice and PNE Community and Education Trust.
Ben Rhodes, Club Secretary at Preston North End, said: “We’re delighted to be teaming up with EPIC Risk Management again this season for the Man of the Match award.
“Football has always been about far more than just a matchday and for one of our players every week to be able to make a genuine difference to a charity of their choice is fantastic.
“We know that some of the charities chosen last year were overwhelmed by the support from our players, the club and EPIC Risk Management, and we’re so pleased we’ll be able to have a similar effect during the 2023/24 season.”
Reflecting on being able to renew the sponsorship with his favourite club, EPIC CEO Paul Buck added: “From EPIC’s point of view, it’s great to partner and connect with our local club; the one that I’ve supported since I was four years old.
“It’s great to give something back as well. We are a gambling harm minimisation company and we do a lot of education and prevention, but to come in and actually help other forms or charities in other communities is really important to us.”
One local charity benefited from multiple players nominating them as their preferred cause last season, with Tippy Toes Baby Bank receiving the funds each time Alan Browne and Ali McCann claimed the accolade.
The EPIC Risk Management Man of the Match Award will once again be a feature of @pnefc home fixtures in 2023/24, as we continue to donate £500 to the winning player's chosen charity after every game.— EPIC Risk Management (@epicpgc) August 7, 2023
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The Leyland-based organisation, which gifts key baby items to young families in need of support, has been able to acquire a number of vital items for parents who otherwise couldn’t have afforded them.
Sue Wade, founder and CEO of Tippy Toes, says that the award has helped to add a real sense of excitement and opportunity for their charity on matchdays, explaining: “We always sit there and look to see who has won the EPIC Risk Management Man of the Match and when it’s one of the players that supports us, we always think ‘yes – now think of what we can do with it’.
“The first thing we then do on Monday morning is think what it is that’s really needed; ‘is it that we’ve got a family that needs something specific?’, ‘are we low on safety gates, safety packs or mattresses?’.
“It gives us the opportunity to help all those families across the whole of Lancashire.”
The EPIC Risk Management Man of the Match Award will return at Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup round one tie against Salford City and will also be in place at all competitive first team games at Deepdale throughout the season.