Kiyan Prince was a young footballer building an outstanding reputation at the Queens Park Rangers academy.
At just 15 years old, Kiyan was fatally stabbed outside his school. Thirteen years later, supporters of the club have elected to rename Loftus Road in support of the charity his father Mark set up in the wake of his death. For the upcoming season, QPR’s ground will now be known as the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium, and we caught up with former QPR player and current club ambassador Andy Stinton to find out more.
Hi Andy, what made QPR decide to rename the stadium?
QPR are proud to be a community club, so when the proposal to change the name came about, we were thinking of ideas to involve our supporters. The fans were asked to nominate a local charity to be gifted the name and rights to our stadium, and from that we shortlisted 5. They then voted for one from the shortlist, with 63% voting in favour of renaming the stadium in support of the Kiyan Prince Foundation.
What was the reaction to the renaming?
The reaction was very positive. We know people will always regard our ground as Loftus Road, but Kiyan was part of the QPR family. The renaming of the stadium means we can honour his memory in the best possible way. It also gives us an opportunity to work with the foundation in raising awareness and educating people on the dangers of knife crime, with the aim to eradicate it as much as we can.
Has the club previously supported the Kiyan Prince Foundation?
Kiyan’s father Mark Prince set up the Kiyan Prince foundation as a way to educate people about the devastating effects of knife crime, and QPR pledged to stand shoulder to shoulder with Mark in support. We’ve gifted the stadium name and rights to the foundation, and we’re still looking into ways of working with other charities on our doorstep. Our hope is to enhance the work that’s already being done in our local community.
What did the renaming mean to Kiyan’s family?
The family were delighted and extremely proud that such a large percentage of the QPR community had chosen to name the stadium in Kiyan’s memory. Kiyan’s relatives and the foundation will always be part of the QPR family, and we are inspired by the work that they do. Being at the heart of the local community, we are hopeful that we can support them as best we can to make a real difference together.
Why is it important for football clubs to be active in their communities?
If you’re a community club, it’s important to understand the needs of the community so you can reach out and support them. We have a fantastic community trust here and we’re very proud of the work they do and the positive influence they have on others. After the unbelievable tragedy at Grenfell Tower, we committed to supporting those affected, both in the short term, and with continued work with local residents. We are proud to play our part in serving the community by working closely with local charities. We also strongly believe that we can use the power and reach of football to bring people together and strengthen communities.