The Rhino Cup Champions League initiative has been recognized and was nominated for the Grassroots Organization of the Year Award as part of the BBC Green Sport Awards 2023.
The Green Sport Awards are part of the BBC's commitment to a greener future and are designed to use the power and passion of sport for a positive effect. The awards celebrate individuals and organizations from across the globe who are actively contributing to a more sustainable future through their sporting profile and practices.
This year there are five categories: Athlete of the Year, Young Athlete of the Year, Evergreen Athlete 2023, Elite Organization of the Year Award, Grassroots Organization of the Year Award.
The awards offer the chance to tell some positive and inspiring stories as well as raise awareness of issues with some audiences that may not be fully engaged on the subject. BBC Sport also recognizes its obligation to be a strong force for good inside the sport and broadcast industry and so to that end the BBC Sport have partnered with Sport Positive Summit. Combining the two events also has obvious benefits in terms of their own emissions and planning.
Grassroots Organization of the Year - Category
The Grassroots Organization of the Year award is for any amateur or non-professional sporting body that is involved in the organization of sport at a community level (such as local clubs, teams, groups, associations, national or regional governing organizations and charities) and has proactively demonstrated support for environmental and climate change issues in the past 12 months.
Recommendations of sportspeople and sports organizations demonstrating significant environmental consciousness and/or actions in the past 12 months were provided by experts inside and outside the UK. A list combining these names was provided to the BBC Green Sport Awards production team and was then discussed by a shortlisting panel. A panel of independent experts in climate and environment issues from inside and outside the BBC then judges the winner of each category.
Two women football players from the RCCL Mozambique Girl’s League engaged in a competitive match during the beginning of the 2022 season. The light blue football team is called the Mulheres de Baptine Buffalos, they are sponsored by Fisher Futbol, a private family group from the USA. The football team known as the Perigrinas de Sabié Lions is distinguished by its darker blue color. The Lions have been proudly sponsored by Travel Beyond, an international travel agency, since 2019.
RCCL and WFF appreciate this special nomination.
Wild and Free Foundation recognizes the need to take action now for conservation by empowering youth and communities in rural areas surrounding National Parks and wildlife reserves through the beautiful game of football to significantly increase activities and economic opportunities.
Matt Bracken, Founder and CEO of Wild and Free Foundation and the Rhino Cup Champions League, said: "It is truly amazing to be shortlisted as a finalist for the BBC Green Sport Awards. The Rhino Cup Champions League has been gathering momentum since it launched in August 2016, and this nomination recognizes both the achievement of the Rhino Cup Champions League inspiring the collective effort of grassroots football across Africa to help create significant contributions towards improving the situation for both youth and wildlife".
The RCCL has adopted an unconventional people-centered approach to conservation, whereby conservation is delivered to enrich people's lives, benefiting both conservation and local communities in a sustainable and socially just way. We believe that by harnessing three key emotions, including pride, gratitude, and compassion for wildlife through football, we will make significant contributions towards improving the situation for both rural African youth and wildlife.
The RCCL and WFF are both honored to be able to accept this special nomination, which includes some of the world's leading experts in sport sustainability and sporting heroes who are advocating for a greener world.
Two male football players engaged in a competitive match in Zimbabwe as part of the scheduled RCCL league during the beginning of the 2023 season. The blue football team is called Iwisa Sparrows FC. The football team known as Rock Rabbits FC is distinguished by its green color. They are proudly sponsored by Wild and Free Foundation. The RCCL Zimbabwe was launched in April, 2022.
More about the BBC Green Sport Awards
The awards are strategically placed to coincide with the Sport Positive Summit, the BBC’s award partners, as well as the UN Sport for Climate Action Annual General Meeting.
All winners will be announced on the BBC Sport website on Monday, October the 2nd, 2023.
The 2023 BBC Green Sport Awards event will be held at the BBC Radio Theatre, at the centre of BBC's historic Grade II listed building, Broadcasting House, in London on Monday, 2 October.
You can learn more by clicking here. (BBC Green Sport Awards: What do you need to know?)
A moment of pure joy experienced by a male football player proudly representing the RCCL Zimbabwe. The player wears the biggest smile, radiating joy for the opportunity to play the beautiful game of football in an organized league. The photo was taken during the final match of the RCCL Zimbabwe season in 2022.
The Rhino Cup Champions League is an incredible amateur football league for young men and women, bringing positive change, evolution, and opportunities for growth and advancement to rural communities bordering National Parks and wildlife reserves in Africa.
It is hard to imagine a more fitting mechanism to connect rural communities with protecting their wildlife than by creating a football league that is sponsored by and catalyzed from successful and lasting wildlife conservation.
In Africa, this is the RCCL.