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Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2023 raises £14.7mn – & more football-related fundraising news

Melanie May | 14 June 2023 | News

Sam Claflin of World XI, Mo Farah of England and Jermain Defoe of England during Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2023 taking place on Sunday 12th June at the Old Trafford, Manchester.
Sam Claflin of World XI, Mo Farah of England and Jermain Defoe of England during Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2023. Photographed by Ian Walton for UNICEF UK and Soccer Aid Productions. ©UNICEF/Soccer Aid Productions/Stella Pictures

Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2023 took place on 11 June, raising £14.6 million. This brings the total raised since it was founded by UNICEF UK Ambassador Robbie Williams in 2006 to over £90mn.

Broadcast live on ITV1, STV and ITVX on 11 June from Old Trafford, Manchester, the event saw more 63,000 fans attend, and ended 4-2 to Soccer Aid World XI.

The contest saw the charity match’s first female captain, Lioness Jill Scott for England, and Usain Bolt return to captain the Soccer Aid World XI FC after he handed his captaincy to Ukrainian footballer Andriy Shevchenko during last year’s match.


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Heather O’Reilly of World XI and Liam Payne of England during Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2023. Photographed by Daniel Chesterton for UNICEF UK and Soccer Aid Productions. ©UNICEF/Soccer Aid Productions/Stella Pictures

As the only official FA sanctioned mixed gender match, Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2023 saw the most female celebrity players to date. Skippered by Scott, Eni Aluko returned for England, and Heather O’Reilly returned for the Soccer Aid World XI FC, whilst ex-professional footballers Karen Carney, Kaylyn Kyle, Izzy Christiansen and celebrity players Scarlette Douglas and Maisie Adam made their debuts. In a Soccer Aid for UNICEF first, the match officials for the game featured an all-female line up, with Abi Byrne as referee, Georgia Ball and Nicoleta Bria as assistants and Jane Simms as the 4th official.

Stormzy made his Soccer Aid debut as England co-manager alongside Harry Redknapp and Emma Hayes, and with Robbie Williams, Vicky McClure, David Seaman and Zavon Hines making up the coaching team. They were up against the star-studded Soccer Aid World XI FC management team made up of managers Mauricio Pochettino and Martin Compston, with Daniel Bachmann, Jesus Perez, Robbie Keane and Sporty Spice Melanie C as coaches.

Tom Hiddleston of England (left) and Usain Bolt of World XI during Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2023. Photographed by Alex Broadway for UNICEF UK and Soccer Aid Productions. ©UNICEF/Soccer Aid Productions/Stella Pictures

The event also saw UNICEF UK Ambassador, Tom Hiddleston, address the stadium crowd and the viewers at home with a half time speech, encouraging donations to UNICEF. He was joined by Tom Grennan who performed hit song, ‘Here’.  The show was once again presented by UNICEF UK Ambassador, Dermot O’Leary, and UNICEF UK High Profile Supporter, Alex Scott.

Throughout the ITV show, short appeal films presented by UNICEF UK President and Ambassador Olivia Colman, UNICEF UK High Profile Supporter Martin Compston and supporters Alex Brooker, Suranne Jones, Lennie James and Indira Varma highlighted where the money raised by Soccer Aid for UNICEF goes. Martin Compston’s half-time film focused on his trip to Bangladesh where he saw how UNICEF is helping unaccompanied children living on the streets, visiting a UNICEF-supported child protection hub.

Tom Hiddleston, UNICEF UK Ambassador said: 

“It has been an absolute privilege to play in my very first Soccer Aid for UNICEF tonight, alongside a brilliant team, against a fierce opposition and in front of an incredibly generous crowd. To raise £14.6 million is truly life-changing and will make such a difference to children that need it most, all over the world. So, it’s a huge thank you to everyone who has watched, cheered and donated. Together we really are making sure children can play and have the happy childhoods they deserve.”

Jon Sparkes OBE, Chief Executive at the UK Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK), commented: 

“Congratulations to World XI for their spectacular win this evening! Each year it feels like this beautiful game gets bigger and better. It was such an exciting watch to see England take on Soccer Aid World XI and topped off by raising an incredible £14.6 million which will help children worldwide have the childhoods they are entitled to. Thank you to everyone watching at home and live in the stadium for their support.”

More football-related fundraising

Street Soccer London

Street Soccer London takes football to Abbey Road Studios with celeb support

Street Soccer London is bringing football and music to the Abbey Road Studios this week.

Its ‘Raise the Game’ event, in partnership with wealthtech platform Y TREE, will provide an opportunity to celebrate the power of football and the impact it can have on local communities. The event will fundraise with a range of auction lots, and feature entertainment from Heather Small, Eloise Voila & Scouting for Girls.

Street Soccer London’s founder and CEO, David Duke, said:

“The event will showcase the achievement of our players and the dedication of the staff and volunteers who make it happen. It will also allow us to reach even more players in the community and provide access to new support networks and opportunity, in a time where we know that level of support is needed more than ever.”

Stuart Cash, Co-founder and CEO of Y TREE, added:

“Y TREE is proud to be partnering with Street Soccer London for its ‘Raise the Game’ event. Charities like Street Soccer London play a vital role in creating a prosperous future for generations to come—something of critical importance to us at Y TREE. We are grateful for the opportunity to support Street Soccer London’s work and drive positive social impact, and look forward to what will be an inspiring and educational event.”

Black and white football on grass

PR firms team up for charity football fundraiser

London PR outfits Spreckley and TUVA are set to battle it out on the football pitch later this month to raise funds for GOSH Charity and Action for Children.

East London’s Spreckley will be fundraising for GOSH Charity, with the money raised helping to fund the hospital’s most urgent needs. These include support services for children and their families, groundbreaking research into rare and complex conditions, state-of-the-art medical equipment and the essential rebuilding and refurbishment of hospital wards and buildings. 

Spreckley captain and Junior Account Manager Lawrence Rosenberg said:

“I’ve been excited to get a charity game set up for a while, so a massive thank you to the Spreckley and TUVA teams for making this happen. That said, no love will be lost on the football field, and as a Spurs fan, I could really do with winning a game. I might even bring a flare with me in case I score!”

On the opposing side, West London’s TUVA has announced that their donations will be going to Action for Children.

Ken Deeks MBE, VP of Action for Children, said: 

“I’m delighted that Action for Children has been chosen by TUVA as its charity of choice for the upcoming football match. At a time when children have never needed our services more, we are truly grateful that TUVA is giving us the support that will help us to continue to be there for the most vulnerable people here in the UK.”

And for further inspiration…

Professionals with Purpose, our new publication, recently featured Rachel Cummins, Communications Manager at City in the Community on 5 ways Manchester City has supported its charity during end of season moments. Read it here.