Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club has been awarded the city’s highest honour in recognition of their exceptional service to the city.
Councillors unanimously voted to award the club the Freedom of the City at a special council meeting on Tuesday 28 November 2023.
The ceremonial award recognises the club’s historic sporting achievements and also their outstanding contribution to the city.
At the meeting, a number of councillors shared their support, memories, thanks and personal accounts of what the local football club means to them. Others celebrated the Albion’s sporting success or highlighted the many community and charity contributions the Albion has made to the city off the pitch.
Councillor Bella Sankey, Leader of the Council, said:
“Brighton & Hove Albion Football club has a long history serving the city and people of Brighton & Hove, bringing us joy and inspiration.
“As a Brightonian and life-long fan, I’ve watched with delight as the Seagulls have soared to success over the past few years.
“And as the Leader of the Council, I’m proud of how the club’s success has also boosted the profile of Brighton & Hove off the pitch.
“Their contribution to the local economy is incredible and they are one of the city’s largest employers.
“Despite a well-earned and growing global profile, the club continues to show its commitment to grassroots sports and inclusivity within our local communities.
“I’m pleased that we can show our civic support with the Freedom of the City award and let the club know that the whole city is behind them, now and as they continue to thrive and grow.”
Chairman Tony Bloom said: “The Freedom of the City award is a great honour for us, and it’s wonderful to know that we have the support of the whole of the magnificent community in Brighton and Hove behind us.
“Our achievements, particularly in the last few years, have helped promote the club and the city across the world and this is something we are very proud of.”
Captain Lewis Dunk added: “As someone who is Brighton born and bred it is always an honour to lead the team out in every game, at home and now in Europe. Brighton and Hove is a special place and we’re grateful for the support of everyone in the city and we’re proud to represent them.”
The Freedom of the City is a ceremonial title given to individuals or organisations in recognition of exceptional service to the city. To be conferred, it must be passed by no less that two-thirds of voting members at the special council meeting.
You can watch the Special Council meeting where Brighton & Hove Albion were awarded the Freedom of the City on the council’s webcast.