(Reuters) - A total of 32 Premier League and English Football League clubs have agreed to be a part of a programme to partner with local prisons to tackle high reoffending rates.
Clubs will work with Prison Service officers as part of the Twinning Project to deliver coaching, stewarding and lifestyle skills to help prisoners find paid employment upon their release.
Former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein, the founder of the initiative, said there was "huge interest and enthusiasm" in the project from clubs and the Prison Service.
"It is testament to the vision and purpose of the Twinning Project that such a large group of football clubs have agreed to participate in trying to tackle a difficult problem in our society," Dein said in a statement.
The Professional Game Match Officials Limited will also deliver refereeing courses to prisoners.
The first courses will be launched during the second quarter of 2019 and Dein said they were in talks with other British clubs to bring them on board.
Premier League clubs part of the project: Arsenal, Bournemouth, Brighton and Hove Albion, Cardiff City, Chelsea, Everton, Fulham, Leicester City, Liverpool, Manchester City, Newcastle United, Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United.
EFL clubs: Aston Villa, Brentford, Bristol Rovers, Bury, Charlton Athletic, Doncaster Rovers, Exeter City, Leeds United, Lincoln City, Millwall, Notts County, Oldham Athletic, Plymouth Argyle, Queens Park Rangers, Rochdale, Rotherham United, Stoke City and Tranmere Rovers.
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru)