Liverpool FC’s official charity, LFC Foundation, announced today that it will be joining forces with the British Record Holder and World Champion athlete, Katarina Johnson-Thompson.
The Liverpool-born Olympian who has a special connection to the Reds and was due to be going for gold today at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, will become an official Ambassador for the LFC Foundation, a unique role that she will share with fellow Ambassador, Jurgen Klopp.
Alongside the new Ambassadorial role, Katarina will be launching the KJT Academy which will work in partnership with the LFC Foundation to help develop a new community talent development programme targeting underserved young athletes from across the Liverpool City Region.
The new partnership with the KJT Academy, will also see the LFC Foundation deliver an accessible community sports programme that will encourage children and young people from disadvantaged areas to get involved in fun, physical activities and explore the world of Olympic sports, such as athletics.
The KJT Academy will focus on providing opportunities to participate in sport for young, underserved Liverpudlians whilst also offering scholarship opportunities for state schooled, BAME athletes pursuing their Olympic dreams, something that Katarina has lived and is very passionate about.
Research shows a real lack of diversity across British Olympic teams. Of the 23 Olympic teams that comprised Team GB at the 2016 Rio Olympics, over 50% did not feature a single athlete from the BAME community and 31% of Team GB’s Rio medallists were privately educated although 88% of the general population attend state schools*. A 2017 report by the University of Toronto also highlighted that 10 Team GB sports showed a significant bias towards white, privately educated athletes.
Katarina Johnson-Thompson, said:
“I am so proud to launch the KJT Academy and become an official Ambassador of the LFC Foundation.
“With the Olympics being postponed for a year and the world going through unprecedented times, I’ve had an opportunity to put energy into something that could really help open up opportunities to those who may have their paths restricted.
“I was born and raised in Liverpool and know the challenges that young people of all backgrounds face. The KJT Academy, alongside the LFC Foundation will help provide more opportunities to access sport for the youth of Merseyside that need it most. The aim is to not only provide better access but to specifically support talented BAME athletes on the cusp of fulfilling their potential.
“Sport is and always has been a huge part of my life and I am passionate about nurturing and developing future talent to help others achieve their dreams as I have been fortunate enough to do. The LFC Foundation share the same values and ideals which is why the KJT Academy and LFC Foundation is a perfect match.
“Just when I didn’t think it was possible to be prouder to be a part of Liverpool FC, the club that I love are helping me to give young people in Liverpool opportunities to fulfil their potential and hopefully produce the next generation of Olympians.”
Matt Parish, LFC Foundation director, added:
“It’s an honour to welcome Katarina to the LFC Foundation family, she is a source of inspiration for so many and a national hero.
“We are really excited to be working with the KJT Academy team to establish this new and innovative programme that will look to provide a wealth of opportunities to budding young athletes across the Liverpool City Region.”
For more information on the LFC Foundation please visit www.foundation.liverpoolfc.com/