This week, the British Prime Minister welcomed the stars of this year’s Soccer Aid for UNICEF, including former Olympic athletes Usain Bolt and Soccer Aid co-founder Robbie Williams to a reception at 10 Downing Street.
The event celebrated the commitment by the UK government to match every £1 donated by the public through its UK Aid Match scheme, doubling the difference for children in danger around the world.
Soccer Aid for Unicef star players including Sir Mo Farah and Olly Murs joined the Prime Minister to celebrate change made possible by the generous donations of the British public, who have previously raised more than £24 million for Soccer Aid for Unicef since the first match in 2006.
The reception also welcomed young reporter Kendra, aged 14, who travelled to see how donations to Soccer Aid for Unicef can help children in Lesotho, school children and Unicef UK Children’s Champions – members of the public who campaign in support of children’s rights and UK aid in their communities.
The garden event offered guests the opportunity to engage with and learn about the work done by Unicef through its partnership with the Department for International Development (DFID). Interactive stalls included a School in a Box, which helps at least 40 children continue their education in times of emergency and conflict, VR headsets showing childhood around world, and an opportunity to take part in the Soccer Aid Playground Challenge alongside school children.
Soccer Aid World XI captain Usain Bolt said: “We as the Soccer Aid team are honoured to have met UK Prime Minister Theresa May at Downing Street today to celebrate the vital work made possible by donations to Soccer Aid for Unicef and the UK government, who are matching all donations this year pound for pound.”
Robbie Williams, co-founder Of Soccer Aid for Unicef said: “Soccer Aid is always such a special event to be a part of, and seeing the real difference made by the money raised really helps the importance of the game hit home. I hope we can push the total even higher this year to help even more children around the world.”
The Prime Minister Theresa May said: “Today’s reception is a chance to celebrate charity workers and the kindness of those who help raise money including the Soccer Aid for Unicef participants who have previously raised £24 million to support vulnerable children around the world.”
“We could not have done this without the extraordinary generosity of people in the UK and their determination to support others in need.”
Unicef UK Executive Director Mike Penrose said: “We are hugely proud of Soccer Aid for Unicef and the place it holds in the heart of the British public. Time and time again we have proved what a generous nation we are, and with the UK government matching public donations for Soccer Aid for Unicef pound-for-pound this year, together we can make double the difference for children.”
International Development Secretary, Penny Mordaunt, said: "UK aid will continue to work to make the world – and ultimately the UK – a better, safer and more prosperous place and through UK Aid Match we are giving the British public a say in how the aid budget is spent. We will be matching all UK public donations to Soccer Aid for Unicef pound-for-pound up to £5 million.
“I want to say a huge thank you to the British Public whose fundraising efforts are helping save lives around the world. Today’s reception is about them.”
Soccer Aid for Unicef features an impressive line-up of celebrities and former sportsmen this year, including: Robbie Williams, Usain Bolt, Sir Mo Farah, Eric Cantona, Gordon Ramsay, Olly Murs, Michael Sheen, Mark Wright, Brendan Cole, Joe Wicks, Rak-Su, Clarence Seedorf, Robert Pirès, Yaya Toure, Jaap Stam, Patrick Kluivert, Edwin van der Sar, Kevin Pietersen, David Seaman, Dan Carter, Phil Neville, Jamie Redknapp, Danny Murphy and Robbie Fowler.
You can also join the Soccer Aid team and try your luck at the Blindfold Keepy-Uppy Challenge to see how many keepy-uppies you can do blindfolded. Share your videos with your social media followers and get them to donate to Soccer Aid for Unicef with the link unicef.uk/keepitup.
The Soccer Aid for Unicef match will take place at Old Trafford on Sunday 10th June, just four days before the FIFA World Cup in Russia begins. Tickets are on sale now and the game will be broadcast live on ITV. Kick-off is scheduled for 20:00 BST.
Soccer Aid for Unicef is the original England vs. Soccer Aid World XI charity match. It was launched and co-founded in 2006 by Unicef UK Ambassador Robbie Williams and Jonathan Wilkes and has previously featured A-list stars such as Will Ferrell, Woody Harrelson, Mike Myers and Niall Horan, plus footballing royalty including Diego Maradona, Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo and Ronaldinho.
Unicef, the world’s leading organisation for children, has joined forces with ITV to make the pro-celebrity football match bigger and better than ever, with more potential to raise money and vital support for children in danger. Soccer Aid for Unicef is produced by Initial, part of Endemol Shine UK, for ITV.
100% of all public donations to Soccer Aid for Unicef will be doubled by the UK government, up to a total of £5 million, and will go towards supporting the vital work protecting children around the world. So far £24 million has already been raised through Soccer Aid over the last 12 years.
Tickets for the Soccer Aid for Unicef football match on Sunday 10th June 2018 at Old Trafford are available now at www.manutd.com/socceraid or by calling 0161 444 2018 with tickets priced between £10 and £50.