Soccer Aid for UNICEF raises record £13m

Melanie May | 6 September 2021 | News

Soccer Aid 2021

This year’s Soccer Aid for UNICEF, which took place on 4 September, broadcast live on ITV, STV, and the ITV hub, has raised a record-breaking £13,014,769 so far for UNICEF.

The record-breaking amount was raised thanks to the generous support of the UK public, ITV and STV viewers, and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) who matched all public donations up to £6.3 million. This breaks last year’s record of £11.5m. Created by Robbie Williams, the first Soccer Aid took place in 2006, raising £2m.

The Soccer Aid match took place once again in Manchester, with 51,674 fans attending in line with current Covid safety regulations, following last year’s match behind closed doors. The match ended 3-0 to Soccer Aid World XI and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, David Beckham OBE presented the Soccer Aid for UNICEF shield to the winning Soccer Aid World XI FC team.

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The match was between England, led by Olly Murs and the Soccer Aid World XI FC, captained by Usain Bolt. England, co-managed by former England international Manager, Sven Goran-Eriksson and Soccer Aid for UNICEF co-founder and UNICEF UK Ambassador Robbie Williams who were up against Soccer Aid for UNICEF stalwart Harry Redknapp and inspirational tennis coach, Judy Murray.

Match highlights included Player of the Match, Kem Cetinay scoring two goals for the Soccer Aid World XI FC – meaning the former Love Islander has now netted in each of the matches he has played in: 2019, 2020 and 2021, which is an all-time Soccer Aid for UNICEF record.

As the only official FA sanctioned mixed gender match, Kelly Smith MBE and Fara Williams returned for England, whilst Julie Fleeting and Chelcee Grimes returned for the Soccer Aid World XI FC. Fara Williams, Harriet Pavlou and Ingrid Moe Wold all made their Soccer Aid for UNICEF debuts.

Making up the star studded squads were new and returning players including Wayne Rooney, Sir Mo Farah, Gary Neville, Mark Wright, James Arthur, Paul Scholes, Roberto Carlos, Patrice Evra, Ore Oduba, Martin Compston, Lee Mack, Kem Cetinay, Joel Dommett, Yung Blood, Chunkz, Olly Murs, Max Whitlock and Jamie Redknapp.

The show was presented by UNICEF UK Ambassador, Dermot O’Leary, with Alex Scott making her Soccer Aid for UNICEF presenting debut as Pitch Side Reporter. Joining Dermot in the studio providing punditry were UNICEF UK Ambassador James Nesbitt and Maya Jama. Commentary was provided by Sam Matterface, who was joined by former Soccer Aid World XI FC player and voice of Love Island, Iain Stirling.

Throughout the ITV show, short appeal films presented by UNICEF UK Ambassadors Olivia Colman and David Harewood, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham OBE and Olly Murs, Alesha Dixon and Martin Compston highlighted where the vital money raised by Soccer Aid for UNICEF goes.

David Harewood also came onto the pitch at half time to galvanise the Etihad Stadium crowd and ITV audience to donate in a special one-off moment as he spoke about his experience seeing how the money raised changes children’s lives.

Robbie Williams, Soccer Aid for UNICEF co-founder, England Manager and UNICEF UK Ambassador said:

“I’m so proud to have been involved in another fantastic Soccer Aid for UNICEF and to have raised a record breaking amount of money. With fans back in the stadium for the match, the atmosphere was electric tonight. 15 years ago when the idea behind Soccer Aid for UNICEF was born, I could only dream of moments like tonight and another £13 million raised for children around the world is something I want to thank all of the public for.”

Steven Waugh, Interim Executive Director at the UK Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK), said:

“This year, Soccer Aid for UNICEF has had its biggest challenge as the Covid crisis is making life for children in the world’s poorest countries even harder – the support of the UK public is vital, and I am so proud of what we have achieved so far. When the final whistle blew this evening it might have meant the end of the game, but it’s really only the beginning for the children whose lives will be changed by the money raised tonight.”