Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2018, broadcast live and exclusively on ITV and STV, has raised a record-breaking £5,540,259 so far for Unicef’s vital work protecting children in danger around the world.
This amount was raised thanks to the generous support of the UK public, ITV and STV viewers, and the UK government who have matched all donations so far pound for pound. This figure has smashed all previous records for money raised on the night.
The eagerly anticipated match took place at a packed out Old Trafford which saw the highest ever Soccer Aid for Unicef attendance – a whopping 71,965 people turned up to watch the match. The match ended in a nail-biting penalty shoot-out with England beating the World XI 7-6 in a sudden death contest with Blake Harrison scoring the winning penalty.
Unicef UK Ambassador Robbie Williams' England side, captained by Olly Murs, went head to head against a Soccer Aid World XI captained by Olympic hero and Player of the Match Usain Bolt. Manchester United legend Eric Cantona made a historic return to Old Trafford, which also saw new and returning players including Sir Mo Farah, Gordon Ramsay, Paddy McGuinness, Kevin Pietersen, Andrew Flintoff, Damian Lewis and Mark Wright battle it out on the pitch.
Highlights of this year’s Soccer Aid for Unicef included two heart-breaking attempts on goal by Usain Bolt – one ruled offside and another that grazed the line, Robbie Keane tapping a goal in past a baffled David Seaman, Lee Mack’s missed opportunity to bring it home for England in penalties and the deafening roar of the Old Trafford crowd as King Eric pulled up his collar and stepped back onto the pitch in the Theatre of Dreams.
Tonight’s show was presented by Dermot O'Leary and Kirsty Gallacher, with Unicef UK Ambassador Jessie Ware and Jonas Blue giving musical performances. Jessie joined fellow Unicef UK Ambassador James Nesbitt to provide match punditry alongside comedian Tom Davis.
Throughout the ITV show, short appeal films presented by Unicef UK Ambassadors and supporters Michael Sheen, Olly Murs, Nicole Scherzinger, Dermot O’Leary, Keeley Hawes and David Harewood highlighted where the money raised by Soccer Aid for Unicef goes to help protect children in danger around the world.
Unicef UK Executive Director Mike Penrose and International Development Minister Lord Bates presented the Soccer Aid for Unicef shield to the victorious England side.
Robbie Williams, co-founder of Soccer Aid and England Assistant Manager said: “Tonight we showed that Soccer Aid for Unicef 2018 truly is bigger and better than ever before! The passion and commitment of all the players, coaching staff and teams across both World XI and England meant the match raised an incredible, record-breaking £5.5m. I’m truly speechless! Being on the side lines this year, managing the England boys and watching them put in a match winning performance, has really opened my eyes to the place this game now has in the UK public’s hearts. It makes people stand up and take notice. It changes children’s lives! Thank you so much to everyone that came to Old Trafford tonight or watched the match at home and most importantly to all of you who so generously donated. With the UK government matching every pound you have given, children in danger all around the world will see double the impact.”
Usain Bolt, Soccer Aid World XI Captain said: “Tonight was such a momentous occasion for me. It was quite simply incredible! I fulfilled my childhood dream by playing a full 90 minutes of football at Old Trafford, I got to play against some seriously good footballers and scored the first penalty for the World XI, despite being robbed of my first goal. I would have loved to have headed home to Jamaica with the Soccer Aid for Unicef trophy under my arm, but my team and I are so proud to know that all of our hard work in training this week has meant that a record-breaking, life-changing amount of money was donated to Unicef tonight. Thank you to everyone who came to Old Trafford and an even bigger thank you to every single person that donated. Trust me, you really have made a difference to so many children’s lives around the world.”
Unicef works in more than 190 countries and ensures more of the world’s children are vaccinated, educated and protected than any other organisation. The money raised through Soccer Aid 2018 will help Unicef to vaccinate children to protect them from deadly disease, provide life-saving food for malnourished children, train teachers and provide education, protect vulnerable children from violence and abuse and deliver humanitarian aid for children in danger from war and disaster around the world.
International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said: “I am enormously proud that the British public responded with characteristic generosity to this year’s Soccer Aid for Unicef. The UK government is matching public donations pound-for-pound, meaning that, together, we can double the difference for children around the world.”
Soccer Aid for Unicef was produced by Initial, part of Endemol Shine UK, for ITV and was broadcast live on Sunday 10th June 2018. Over the last twelve years the seven Soccer Aid events have now raised more than £29.5 million for Unicef’s work for children.
All donations to this year’s Soccer Aid for Unicef are being matched by the UK government, doubling the difference for children in danger around the word.
JD, the global retailer of sports fashion, was the official Event and Broadcast Partner of Soccer Aid for Unicef. Swiss watchmaker Hublot and Global Sports Brand PUMA served as Official Soccer Aid World XI Partners, with both brands acting as kit sponsors for the Soccer Aid World XI team.