• EE launches “Support. It’s In Your Hands”, a campaign to keep the 87,000 British Sign Language users in the Deaf community involved in the football conversation by encouraging the use of sign language in both deaf and non-deaf communities
  •  In partnership with the Royal Association for Deaf people (RAD) and the Home Nations Football Associations, EE is upskilling the nation with British Sign Language (BSL) tutorials from the likes of Harry Kane, Mary Earps, Rachel Corsie, Sarina Wiegman, Bukayo Saka and Dion Charles
  • As the lead partner of the Home Nations Football Associations, the campaign will see EE create a hero film showcasing how BSL is incorporated in football, as well as a host of content designed to teach football-themed BSL phrases. EE will also engage content creators to help teach the basics of BSL through the football lens and will facilitate training for colleagues in Deaf Awareness courses
  • For bitesize lessons and more information on how to learn BSL, visit

[21st March 2024, London] – EE has teamed up with a host of footballing stars from the four Home Nations, including Declan Rice, Rachel Corsie, Bukayo Saka, Ella Toone, Harry Kane, Lisa Evans, Dion Charles and Mary Earps, to upskill the nation in British Sign Language (BSL) and help everyone feel a part of the football conversation.

While an estimated 1.2 million adults in the UK have hearing loss severe enough to impede most conversational speech, there are approximately only 150,000 BSL users (87,000 of whom are deaf). “Support. It’s in Your Hands” endeavors to change this by celebrating BSL, using sport as a catalyst to encourage the use of sign language in both deaf and non-deaf communities.

Created by EE with support from the Royal Association for Deaf people (RAD) and the Home Nations Football Associations, the campaign encapsulates the shared vision of creating an inclusive world that works for all.

BSL was officially recognised as a language of England, Wales and Scotland in 2002, and it was recently announced that it will be offered as a GCSE subject from 2025. However, with the number of people with hearing loss projected to increase in coming years (an estimated 14.2 million people in the UK will experience hearing loss by 2035), EE aims to ensure no one feels isolated by leveraging its lead partnership of the four Home Nations Football Associations to encourage the nation to learn some BSL and sign their support. 

International footballers from the four Home Nations will teach BSL phrases in the form of easily digestible bitesize content, which will be available on EE LearnSmart. The EE LearnSmart hub will provide resources to support the learning of football themed BSL, including “goal”, “shoot”, “great defending” or “great tackle” so everyone can actively participate in the conversation surrounding the game.

The campaign launches with a film that shows all the ways, knowingly and unknowingly, BSL is incorporated in football, from the grassroots game to the international stage. The film has been created using a combination of archive footage, fan user-generated content and original content, capturing players and fans across different levels of the game.

To further amplify the campaign, EE will activate across a range of touchpoints including:

·        Playing the film at England’s sold out friendly against Brazil at Wembley Stadium connected by EE and allocating two of its mascot spaces to deaf children who will sign the National Anthem with guidance from RAD’s accredited British Sign Language performer.

·        Harnessing FA partner channels to distribute content to promote the use of and learning of BSL. The highlight of these being the ‘EE BSL challenge’ which sees three male England players take on three Lionesses in an obstacle course that requires them to complete sign-based challenges with the help of four England Deaf squad players.

·        Assembling a squad of five content creators to spread the message of inclusivity far and wide: the squad will consist of Shiona McClafferty, Jazzy Whipps, India Morse, Leon Walker Dobson and Ray Bradshaw, who will produce engaging content that helps teach the basics of BSL through the football lens.

·        Facilitating training for its colleagues in Deaf Awareness courses which include some BSL basics. By encouraging greater Deaf Awareness internally, EE will also contribute to further Deaf Awareness and British Sign Language learning across BT Group, alongside an accessibility audit for consumer facing webpages.

Julie Ratcliffe, Royal Association for Deaf people, Chief Operating Officer said:The Royal Association for Deaf people proudly supports this campaign, dedicated to empowering football fans across the UK and championing inclusivity for deaf and hard of hearing communities. As one of the oldest charities supporting deaf people in the UK, RAD is delighted to offer our expertise and support to this initiative, which promises to upskill the nation in the basics of football themed BSL.”

Pete Jeavons, Marketing Communications Director, BT & EE said: "We are committed to ensuring football is a sport for all. As the lead partner of the Home Nations Football Associations, we are proud to drive positive transformation and make the game more accessible for everyone. 'Support. It's In Your Hands' aims to bring about tangible change and increase awareness of British Sign Language. We want to encourage everyone to play their part and make a difference to the shared enjoyment of the beautiful game.”

Stephen Hutchinson, Head of Commercial Partnerships, The FA, said: “Making football a more inclusive ecosystem is hugely important and we are delighted to be working hand in hand with EE to empower all football fans to support people who are deaf or have hearing loss. It’s a sport we all love and everyone deserves to have a say in the football conversation. As part of their sponsorship of Wembley Stadium, we will be working with EE and Royal Association for Deaf people to upskill event staff to provide better support on match days and at concerts.”

The "Support. It's In Your Hands" campaign is part of EE’s ongoing and longstanding commitment to supporting the para & disability community in football and beyond. Last season this came to life through “New Signing” a campaign which saw the world’s first BSL pundits on televised sport. This is just the start for EE with many more activations planned for the coming year that reinforce EE’s commitment in supporting the Deaf community and people with hearing loss.

EE has worked closely with Royal Association for Deaf people (RAD) as a Charity Partner throughout the campaign to ensure that all accessibility requirements are met.

For more information on how to learn BSL and sign your support, visit

*This press release has been written to meet language principles which make it easier and more accessible to translate into British Sign Language.

British Sign Language Translation: