How athletes are serving up donations for Europe's refugees

A growing number of athletes from around the world in soccer, tennis, boxing, and other arenas are using sports to rally support and raise millions for refugees.

Jason Cairnduff/Reuters
Great Britain's Andy Murray during practice for the Davis Cup Semi Final at Emirates Arena in Glasgow, Scotland.

Scottish tennis star Andy Murray has come up with his own way to help in Europe’s continuing migrant crisis – and it's an ace.

For every ace he serves in the rest of the season, the world’s no. 3 player will donate £50 ($78) to UNICEF, the children’s foundation he’s publicly supported since last year, according to the BBC.

“Having seen the images broadcast on the news in recent weeks, I felt I had to do something to help the millions of children and their families who have been forced to flee their homes and had their lives turned upside down,” he told The Guardian on Thursday. “I’ll get that little bit more satisfaction from each ace I hit, knowing that it will be helping UNICEF keep children safe.”

Mr. Murray asked reporters to spread the word about his online fund set up on, which by that afternoon had raised more than 50 donations.

The British No. 1 is preparing for the Davis Cup semi-final against Australia in Glasgow on Friday. As an indication of his potential fundraising abilities, BBC reports that Murray hit 64 aces in four matches at the US Open earlier this month.

Standard Life, the investment firm sponsoring Murray, as well as the Lawn Tennis Association and Association of Tennis Professionals, have each agreed to match his donation.

Murray joins a growing number of athletes and sporting clubs who are pitching in across the globe to help those affected by the “river of refugees” streaming into Europe, and finding unique ways to do so.

Currently, British boxing champion Amir Khan is on a convoy trip to help Syrian refugees in Greece, according to his foundation.

The Guardian reports that the 80 football teams in this season’s Champions League and Europa League have agreed to donate €1 ($1.10) per ticket from their first home games, and a coalition of football fan groups in the UK have banded together to sell T-shirts bearing the slogan: “Refugees are our football family.” Money from the latter initiative will be specifically directed toward medical clinics treating refugees.

Three of the world’s most popular football powerhouses, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, and Real Madrid, have each pledged to donate €1 million ($1.1 million) to help refugees, according to Bleacher Report.

A heartrending, widely publicized image of a 3-year-old Syrian boy washed ashore was what triggered Italian soccer club AS Roma to begin an international fundraising campaign to benefit several children's charities, said its president Jim Pallotta.

It was called: “Football Cares.” Retired American soccer player Mia Hamm has been named spokesperson.

“We’re asking every football club and football fan to put sporting rivalries aside and unite for Football Cares so we can save lives, ease suffering, and let the children play again,” says the campaign.

The Guardian reports that Roma has already made an initial donation of $643,000, including a $280,000 personal contribution from Mr. Pallotta.

So far, the fund has already raised nearly 60 percent of its €1 million goal.

“It’s not about Roma,” Pallotta said. “It’s about the refugees.”

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