Migrant crisis: British football clubs pledge refugee help

European Club Association
Bayern Munich chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (middle) is the chairman of the European Club Association

British clubs playing in the Champions League and Europa League have agreed to donate ticket money from games towards funds for Europe's refugee crisis.

The European Club Association has asked clubs to donate one euro from each ticket sold for their first home match.

On Wednesday, Manchester United and Celtic became the latest British clubs to confirm they were taking part.

"It is important football reflects the feelings of its communities," said United vice-chairman Ed Woodward.

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell added: "From Glasgow we have watched in horror as this crisis has unfolded.

"Clearly we are not able to comprehend what these people, in their thousands and of all ages, are going through, but we feel compelled to help in any way we can."

British clubs playing in European competition
Champions League:Arsenal
Chelsea
Manchester City
Manchester United
Europa League:Celtic
Liverpool
Tottenham

The campaign, called 90 Minutes for Hope, is based on an initial idea from Portuguese side Porto and backed by the ECA, the independent body which represents clubs at European level.

Europe has been struggling to cope with the influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees, the majority fleeing the conflict in Syria, over the past few weeks.

The ECA said the donations will be transferred to one or more "experienced and respected organisation(s)" to distribute to the refugees. No decision has been made about which organisation will receive the funds.

"We cannot close our eyes to the dramatic scenes currently taking place throughout Europe," said the ECA, which represents 220 clubs across 53 nations.

"We, the European clubs, understand that our work goes well beyond what we achieve on the pitch and are naturally committed to engaging in social causes and giving back to society."

Arsenal contributed £1 from every ticket sold for Saturday's Premier League game against Stoke to a charity helping child refugees.

Last weekend players in German football's top two divisions wore shirts carrying messages supporting refugees.

However, supporters of some leading European clubs have voiced their opposition to the ECA's proposal.

A fans' group of Polish club Lech Poznan said it did "not agree" with the move, while supporters of Israeli side Maccabi Tel Aviv raised a banner with the message "Refugees not welcome" in their game against Kiryat Shmona.