Private bookmaker Fitzdares has committed to donating all winnings from the Australian Open 2020 to the Red Cross, supporting victims and emergency services countering the bush fires impacting the Gold Coast of Australia.
The announcement mirrors that of tennis player Nick Kyrgios who has promised to donate $200 to the bush fire crisis for every ace he serves throughout the Australian summer’s tennis season.
Speaking on the charitable initiative, Fitzdares CEO William Woodhams explained: “It is important with an issue like this, with such global implications, that everyone rallies to help Australia.
“The fact that the sports world has become so involved is a huge factor for our inspiration. If Nick Kyrgios hadn’t started this movement, it is unlikely we would have taken part, so we would like to thank him for catalysing our belated pledge. Better late than never.”
Since September, the fires across Australia have killed at least 27 people, and have destroyed more than 10.3 million hectares nationally.
Woodhams has called upon the wider sports industry to support the local charities tackling the bush fires. He added: “We want the whole sports industry to contribute to this pressing case, and perhaps other bookmakers will follow suit. We are just a very small part of a huge and powerful movement. If someone wants to be cynical about charity, that is their burden.”
Supporting the cause, Shane Warne has helped raise one million Australian dollars after his iconic “baggy green cap” was sold at auction, with the money being donated to the Australian Red Cross. The cap was worn by the former Australia captain throughout his 145-Test career, in which he took 708 wickets.
Writing when he launched the auction, Warne said: “Lives have been lost, homes have been destroyed and over 500 million animals have died too. Everyone is in this together and we continue to find ways to contribute and help on a daily basis.
“This has led me to auction of my beloved baggy green cap that I wore throughout my Test career (when I wasn’t wearing my white floppy hat).
“I hope my baggy green can raise some significant funds to help all those people that are in desperate need.”