Villa chooses charity for free shirt sponsorship

Premier League football club, Aston Villa has handed its 2008/09 shirt sponsorship to Acorns Children's Hospice.

The Premier League side has supported the charity for two years and in that time, a number of players and staff have had the opportunity to learn about the organisation through meeting children, parents and nurses as well as Acorns' CEO, David Strudley, and other key members of staff.

A statement on the club's official website said: "As is the case with all clubs in the Premiership and beyond, Aston Villa is in pursuit of lucrative commercial sponsors. Conscious of ticket prices and fan expectation we are constantly benchmarking ourselves both regionally and nationally. What's more, we are aware that new stadia are driving-up expectations for match-day hospitality and again we are striving to react with one eye on tradition and the other on progress.

"But Aston Villa's history and heritage remain fundamental values that cannot be ignored and all these factors shaped our internal expectations regarding the sponsorship value of our shirt and the esteem in which we hold and cherish whatever symbol or message appears on it.

"We regard this partnership as more important and more valuable than any commercial opportunity presented to us."

The club is understood to have offered the sponsorship after being told of Acorns' plans to care for an extra 1,000 children. However, while the deal will help the charity to achieve this, Aston Villa believes it needn't suffer economically as a result.

"It is our hope that we are able to introduce this partnership to new and existing business relationships which will generate economic value to support the Club's competitive ambitions and, at the same time giving a truly wonderful organisation a significant platform from which to touch more people," revealed the club's statement.

The charity has three hospices in the region, in Birmingham, Walsall and Worcester.

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