The FA Cup final is to be renamed in support of Prince William’s ‘heads up’ campaign aimed at raising awareness for men’s mental health. The change in sponsor means Emirates will temporarily step down as the competition’s main sponsor for the first time since 2015.
What is ‘Heads Up’?
Mental health is a topic that has become something of a national importance, with deaths by suicide rising by 10.9% in the UK in 2018 (Samaritans). A shocking stat is that men are three times more likely to commit suicide than women in the UK. The Premier League started a ‘heads up’ campaign spearheaded by Prince William (HRH Duke of Cambridge) to raise awareness of men speaking out about mental health, taking place on the weekends 8th-9th and 15th-16th February.
The campaign also saw the clubs around the Premier League starting matches a minute late in order to show a promotional video for positive mental health. Many local charities got fans with mental health to speak out and reduce the stigma surrounding men and opening up about their emotions.
This move comes after a huge spike in the number of footballers looking for mental health therapy. With 355 professionals accessing therapy in early to late 2019. Olu Maintain, a former academy player, spoke out about his fight with mental health on a youtube series called “Man-up” from BBC Sport. We are seeing a trend of more players opening up about their issues.
Jesse Lingard spoke about the issues he had in an interview with the Daily Mail and the topic has become something of huge importance within the football community.
In an an article from BBC Sport, Prince William stated:
“It’s quite timely bearing in mind what we’ve all been through with this pandemic [Covid-19].
“I think there’s going to be, sadly, a lot of repercussions from this in society, not just in football, in terms of people’s mental health.
“Hopefully the FA Cup can be a bit of a pivot that people can rally around.”
When does the competition restart?
The quarter finals are set to take place on 27th-28th June, with the semi-finals potentially being played on the 18th-19th July. You can see the fixtures here.