It’s been a wild World Cup. Everyone went from hating Jesse Lingard to practicing his dance moves in the mirror, Neymar broke his personal rolling-on-the-floor record, Croatia are in the final and Russia donated £170,000 to LGBT+ causes.
Well, that is after we made accidental allies of them and vowed to pay up £10,000 per Russian goal to the Attitude Magazine Foundation. Here’s a quick run-down of how that happened, including how we ended up doubling the donations and increasing the sleepless nights of homophobes across the host nation.
First off, we pledged to donate a minimum of £50,000 should the Russians not manage to find the net. Little did we know that they would kick off the opening game of the tournament by sticking five goals past Saudi Arabia. You couldn’t write it.
So, alongside the LGBT community, we shouted and screamed our way to 50k after just 90 minutes, and found that we’d inspired plenty of people to cheer on the lowest-ranked side at the competition, and one which they definitely wouldn’t be supporting otherwise.
It was also announced that £10,000 of the money so far will fund 20 members of the LGBT+ community to become fully qualified referees, with the support of openly-gay referee, Ryan Atkin.
— Anelya Krasnova (@AnelyaKrasnova) June 13, 2018
The arch-disrupters of FIFA at Paddy Power have launched #RainbowRussians – for every goal Russia score at the #WorldCup, £10k will be donated to fund causes that make football more #LGBT-inclusive (minimum £50k in case they’re a bit goal shy) ⚽️🏳️🌈https://t.co/4RFNyxTtRP
— Jon Holmes (@jonboy79) June 13, 2018
They went onto score two – plus a cheeky own goal – past Egypt in the group stages, with Denis Cheryshev netting another and convincing us he’s got the entire Madonna discography at home. Not to mention the OG he then scored in a 3-0 loss to Uruguay.
But, with £90,000 racked up at the end of the group stages, Russia were headed for the round of 16. Meaning we were headed to the bank and preparing for more goals. Now just the small matter of former World Cup winners Spain to contend with.
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) July 6, 2018
For the Round of 16 matches, we decided to raise the stakes and double our donations, making it £20,000 for any further goals.
That’s where things got interesting. With a Gerard Pique handball (clearly another major LGBT+ advocate) leading to a Artem Dzyuba penalty, and now-retired Sergei Ignashevich sticking one in his own net, we donated £40,000. Which felt fitting for one of the tournament’s biggest shocks – with Russia sneaking through to the quarter-finals on penalties!
Set to face a team beginning with C and ending in A, and which I cannot name because of the hurt caused to England fans, the Russia team were not finished yet. Oh no, two more goals we scored, including one in the 115th minute, before ultimately crashing out on penalties.
That took our total to £170,000. Yes, you read that right. That cash will help to:
- Challenge LGBT+ prejudice on and off the field
- Support footballers and those in the game in coming out
- Fund educational programmes in schools and colleges
- Make grass-roots teams safe spaces for LGBT+ players
So thank you Russia and thank you Denis Cheryshev, you’re out and proud.