Chelsea, Arsenal to dedicate Community Shield to Grenfell Tower victims

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The 2017 Community Shield between Chelsea and Arsenal will be dedicated to the victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the Football Association (FA) has confirmed.

Seventy-nine people are missing or presumed dead following a horrifying blaze at the tower block in north Kensington, London.

Proceeds from English football's traditional curtain-raiser, which will be contested between Premier League champions Chelsea and FA Cup winners Arsenal at Wembley, will be donated to those affected, the FA confirmed via an official statement.

"With the rest of the nation, Arsenal Football Club was shocked by the incident at Grenfell Tower and our hearts go out to all those affected by this tragedy," Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis said.

"The club stands side by side with Chelsea in reaching out to the community and expressing our support and solidarity for those who have lost friends and family, their homes and their sense of security in the wake of this tragic event.

"We also pay tribute to our city's emergency services who showed immense courage and bravery. We play the FA Community Shield on Sunday 6 August for the victims and the heroes of this terrible tragedy."

Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck added: "It was with profound shock and sorrow we learnt of the tragedy that befell so many people in Kensington last week.

"Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those who lost their lives and our deepest sympathy goes out to anybody who may have suffered in any way due to the dreadful fire at Grenfell Tower.

"We believe it is appropriate and timely that the first major football match involving top-flight clubs to take place in our city since the tragedy will be dedicated in such a way to the victims and survivors, and to the enormous number of heroes of the rescue operation, especially given this occasion's long history of being played for the benefit of the wider community and people in need of support.

"We at Chelsea Football Club hope this FA Community Shield match with Arsenal will provide such support once again."