SkyBet and the British Heart Foundation (BHF) have joined forces with several footballers who have been impacted by life-threatening heart conditions.

The new campaign, ‘Every Minute Matters’, aims to urge more than a quarter of a million people to learn life-saving CPR and it has been asserted that the course requires no medical experience and ‘can be completed with just a mobile phone and a cushion to practise on’. 

Former international stars Graeme Souness, David Ginola and Glenn Hoddle took their places alongside Luton Town captain Tom Lockyer as the companies recently unveiled the new campaign at Wembley Stadium.

Sky outlined that Every Minute Matters aims to recruit 270,000 people to learn life saving CPR over the next 12 months, citing research that shows there are more than 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the UK each year, equating to at least five every 90 minutes. 

Each minute that passes without CPR reduces the chance of survival by up to 10% and less than one in 10 people survive often because those around them lack the skills or confidence to perform CPR.

Souness, who was diagnosed with coronary heart disease in his early 30s, said: “CPR saves lives – and you only have to look at our Re-Starting 11 to see that.”

Souness, Ginola, Hoddle and Lockyer are part of the ‘Re-Starting 11’ – a one-off team including Fabrice Muamba, Derby County player Megan Tinsley, and Wigan Athletic striker Charlie Wyke.

As part of the initiative, the players will share their own stories and look to give participants the skills to ‘tackle the ultimate medical emergency’, with 97% of users feeling confident enough to give CPR and use a defibrillator after completing the training, according to SkyBet.

The ‘Re-Starting 11’ also features football fans who have either survived a cardiac arrest or saved someone’s life, SkyBet explained.

“It’s a privilege to join a team of inspiring people, many who are only here today thanks to CPR, as we stand with SkyBet and the British Heart Foundation to call on the nation to take action,” Souness added.

Meanwhile, SkyBet is also pledging to donate up to £3m to support the vital work of Britain’s biggest heart charity, starting with £10,000 for every goal scored during normal and extra time during the Sky Bet Play-Offs.

Steve Birch, Chief Commercial Officer at Sky Bet, stated: “We’re incredibly proud of our title sponsorship of the Sky Bet Play-Offs and it’s amazing to take our involvement even further and work with the British Heart Foundation to create the ‘Every Minute Matters’ campaign.

“It’s extraordinary to think that in just 15 minutes we can learn such a valuable skill and the real-life stories from ‘Re-Starting 11’ are truly powerful. 

“We’re confident the £3m we hope to raise will make a big difference for the BHF and that we can achieve the goal of seeing 270,000 people learn life saving CPR through the RevivR training course.”

This comes after the EFL announced plans to allocate £600,000 in funding to communities throughout England, marking the initial distribution of grants in collaboration with SkyBet, which includes a variety of projects aimed at addressing isolation, enhancing fitness and mental well-being, boosting sports participation and upgrading local football facilities.

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