Off the pitch, as well as on it, it seems, Crystal Palace are increasingly reliant on star player Wilfried Zaha to get them out of a mess.
Last night, after 24 hours of less-than-optimal publicity over the club’s treatment of Crystal Palace Ladies’ players, having asked many of them to source their own sponsorship to fund their side’s playing activities, the club announced that their men’s team’s star player had stepped in with a “substantial financial contribution”.
Zaha is the club’s best-paid player, having recently signed a contract which reportedly places him on wages of £130,000 per week.
The 25-year-old, who has played internationally for England and, more recently, for his native Ivory Coast, is known to have made significant and regular donations to charitable causes from his football salary ever since he first signed professional terms at Selhurst Park.
Crystal Palace Ladies play in the FA Women’s Championship, and have their first game of the season at home on Sunday against Leicester City.
They responded to the news on Twitter to thank Zaha for his “stunning gesture”.
Zaha’s response? “No problem, happy to help.”
A statement from Crystal Palace Ladies, published on the club’s website, said: “In a sport that is too often shown through negative comment & sentiment, we’ve today been inspired by a stunning gesture from @wilfriedzaha.
“We are delighted to announce that Wilf Zaha has contacted the club to make a substantial financial contribution to support the development of our amateur players.
“Everyone knows what Crystal Palace means to Wilf and he wants to give the same opportunities to the next generation of aspiring players at Palace Ladies that he enjoyed when coming up through junior teams.”
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