Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2019, broadcast live and exclusively on ITV and STV this week, has raised a record-breaking £6,774,764 so far – over £1m more than last year’s on the night total – for Unicef’s vital work keeping children around the world happy, healthy and safe to play.
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, doubling the difference made to children’s lives. This figure has smashed all previous records for money raised on the night.
The eagerly anticipated match took place in London for the first time in over a decade, packing out Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge Stadium with a whopping 39,836 in attendance. The match ended in a 2-2 draw, leading to a nail-biting penalty shoot-out for the second year in a row, with the Soccer Aid World XI beating England 3 goals to 2.
For the first time in Soccer Aid for Unicef history the game saw female players take part in the match, with ex-internationals Katie Chapman and Rachel Yankey taking to the pitch for England, and Brazilian legends Fran and Rosana stepping up for the Soccer Aid World XI.
Taking the reins as co-managers of England were football legend ‘Big’ Sam Allardyce and Good Morning Britain host Susanna Reid, going up against King of the Jungle Harry Redknapp and fellow Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan.
Highlights of this year’s Soccer Aid for Unicef included F2 Freestyler and Hublot Player of the Match Jeremy Lynch scoring both of England’s goals in normal time – his second year in a row scoring for England. Usain Bolt made the most of a missed ball by Jamie Carragher to score the first goal for the Soccer Aid World XI, and Eric Cantona laying it on to Love Island winner Kem Cetinay, soaring the ball into the goal for the equaliser.
As tension built for the penalty shoot out, England’s Ben Shephard managed to score first against Soccer Aid World XI goalie Nicky Byrne, but team mates Joe Wicks, Mark Wright and Lee Mack had no such luck. Successful goals from F2 Freestyler Billy Wingrove, Locksmith and a second goal for Kem Cetinay past England goalie David Harewood secured the final victory for the Soccer Aid World XI.
Tonight’s show was presented by Dermot O'Leary, with Kirsty Gallacher providing pitch side reporting. Unicef UK Ambassador Rita Ora gave an exclusive half time performance, with poet Hussain Manawer opening the show with his moving spoken word performance of Game of Hearts.
Joining Dermot in the on-pitch studio were Unicef UK Ambassador James Nesbitt, football fan Rachel Riley, and Blake Harrison – who’s penalty won last year’s game for England – providing punditry. Commentary was provided by Clive Tyldesley and Graeme Le Saux.
For the first time, people calling to donate to Soccer Aid for Unicef were put through to an ‘appreciation station’, with celebrities including Alison Hammond, Warwick Davis, and Unicef UK Ambassador Keeley Hawes at the end of the phone, thanking members of the Great British public for their support.
Throughout the ITV show, short appeal films presented by Unicef UK Ambassadors Rita Ora, Olivia Coleman, and Jimmy Nesbitt, supporters Gemma Chan and Sanjeev Bhaskar and player David Harewood highlighted where the vital money raised by Soccer Aid for Unicef goes.
All the money raised tonight through Soccer Aid for Unicef will go to supporting the vital work of Unicef around the world. Soccer Aid for Unicef donations will help Unicef provide children with lifesaving food, vaccines and clean water, as well as protecting them from violence, exploitation and abuse.
Toy Story star and Hollywood legend Tom Hanks kicked off proceedings at the beginning of the match, and Unicef UK Executive Director Mike Penrose presented the Soccer Aid for Unicef shield to the victorious Soccer Aid World XI side.
Co-manager of the triumphant Soccer Aid World XI Piers Morgan said: “This might be the greatest moment of my entire life. Proudly captained by Usain Bolt, proud of every single member of my team. Absolute heroes all of them.”
England double goal scorer and Hublot Player of the Match F2 Freestyler Jeremy Lynch said: “We tried our best and I just want to congratulate them. And the main thing is it’s not the result, it’s the cause.”
Unicef UK Executive Director Mike Penrose said: "Children all over the world get to grow up happy, healthy and able to play – just like children should – because of this match, and that means so much to me and everyone involved. I’ve seen the power football has to unite people and change lives, and Soccer Aid for Unicef is testament to that.
“When the final whistle blows it might mean 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. Thank you so much for your support.”
International Development Secretary Rory Stewart said: "Our partnership with Soccer Aid for Unicef has, since 2012, saved lives across the world’s poorest countries by reducing child mortality rates and helping transform maternal and new born care for more than 4.5 million people.
“By teaming up again this year, we will be helping even more children to play, live healthy lives and reach their full potential.
“UK aid will double every pound the British public donates to Soccer Aid for Unicef until July 23, meaning their contributions will go twice as far. Please give generously.”
Kevin Lygo, Director of Television, ITV said: “We at ITV are thrilled to have broadcast another great match for Soccer Aid and helped to raise a phenomenal amount of money for Unicef to do their vital work for children around the globe. We’d like to thank the amazing talent involved for giving up their time for such a worthy cause.”
Soccer Aid for Unicef was broadcast live on ITV and STV, and is produced by Initial. Over £36 million has already been raised by Soccer Aid for Unicef since its inception in 2006. Every pound donated to Soccer Aid for Unicef until 23 July 2019 will be matched by the UK government, doubling the difference you make to children’s lives.