In what promises to be one of this summer’s not-to-be-missed events, the pop superstar will take to the London Stadium pitch at half-time of the world’s biggest celebrity football match to deliver the performance.
It will also be a coming home party for London 2012 sprint king Usain Bolt. The world’s fastest man returns to the London Stadium exactly 10 years on from his gold medal heroics.
A family of four can attend the game for just £60, which takes place on Sunday 12th June at the London Stadium, Stratford – the first time Soccer Aid for UNICEF has ever been played there.
A number of Soccer Aid for UNICEF debutants were announced today. Former One Direction signer Liam Payne will captain the England team. He will be joined by Emily in Paris star Lucien Laviscount and comedian Alex Brooker – who will become the first-ever physically disabled participant in the game. Legendary Arsenal Manager Arsène Wenger will again take to a dugout in London, as he takes charge of the Soccer Aid World XI FC.
Usain Bolt will captain the Soccer Aid World XI FC, with the Jamaican returning to London ten years on from his gold medal wins at London 2012. However, the world’s fastest man won’t have Harry Redknapp’s tactical guidance this year.
England are without a win since 2018 – and Harry has won the last three games. So, he is leaving the Soccer Aid World XI FC to become the Three Lions’ Manager – and is taking last year’s star player Tom Grennan with him in the hope of restoring national pride!
Many more famous faces are set to be announced in the coming weeks but those announced today are – for England, in full: Harry Redknapp (Manager), Liam Payne (Captain) Lucien Laviscount, Tom Grennan, Chunkz, Gary Neville, Jamie Carragher, Fara Williams, Joe Cole, Alex Brooker and David Seaman (Goalkeeper Coach).
For the Soccer Aid World XI FC, in full: Arsène Wenger (Manager), Usain Bolt (Captain) Martin Compston, Mo Gilligan, Chelcee Grimes, Patrice Evra and Robbie Keane.
The England vs. Soccer Aid World XI FC clash is the eleventh-ever. The previous ten encounters have been shared five-a-piece, meaning the winner this year will nudge into an overall lead.
The live show on ITV and STV will be hosted by UNICEF UK Ambassador Dermot O’Leary. Alex Scott also returns as pitch-side reporter. Soccer Aid fan favourite Maya Jama makes her return, as she offers her take on the game as a pundit.
Since 2006 – when UNICEF UK Ambassador Robbie Williams co-founded the concept – Soccer Aid for UNICEF has raised over £60 million to help give children all over the world a childhood full of play. Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2021, at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium, raised a record-breaking £13 million.
This year, there has never been a more challenging time for children. Right now, children are facing conflict, disasters, and other crises in countries around the world. And it is children that are often hardest hit – like the 7.5 million children currently affected by the rapidly escalating conflict in Ukraine. These children risk losing their homes, their families, and their schools. They lose the ability to just be kids.
Soccer Aid for UNICEF is working hard to give children around the world the care-free, play filled childhoods they deserve. The money raised from this year’s game could help UNICEF provide vaccines, fight malnutrition, and provide safe spaces to protect children in times of crisis, helping kids get back to the childhoods they are entitled to.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Ten years on from the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the eyes of the world will once again be on the London Stadium as England look to pick up a long overdue victory over the Soccer Aid World XI FC. The generosity of the British public combined with our love of football has made Soccer Aid for UNICEF a highlight of the sporting calendar and it’s brilliant to see this fantastic event return to the capital.”
UNICEF UK Ambassador Robbie Williams said: “On Sunday 12th June, I will sing Angels in front of 60,000 people at the London Stadium. I already know that it is going to be one of the most special nights of my career – and I want as many of you as possible to be part of it. Tickets are selling fast, so I would urge people to snap them up while they are still available. In so doing, people will be supporting Soccer Aid for UNICEF, which has raised £60m since we started it 16-years-ago.”
Usain Bolt said: “Hello London! I had the pleasure of competing in the London Stadium as an athlete many times including the 2012 Olympic Games. The crowd were amazing every time I competed there and created a special energy and atmosphere. I look forward to returning in June to play again for the Soccer Aid World XI FC. I can’t believe Harry has left us to manage England though – I guess they need all the help they can get! But welcome Mr. Wenger! Buy your tickets today and support this great cause.”
Arsène Wenger said: “I am really looking forward to this special football match in June. It’s great and special to play a football match together with former opponents for a good purpose. Football unites, football gives hope and I am looking forward to making my contribution on Sunday 12th June at the London Stadium.”
Alex Brooker said: “I’m so excited to be a part of Soccer Aid for UNICEF. I’ve watched it for years and I’m proud that I will be the first physically disabled person to play in the match. When I was a baby, my parents didn’t even know if I’d end up being able to walk, so to be involved in something like this is special. I should add that I’m right footed and don’t have a right foot, so I’m not gonna be a game changer! But I just can’t wait to be involved.”
Liam Payne said: “It doesn’t get much better than captaining England in Soccer Aid while fundraising for UNICEF. I can’t believe I get to run out onto the pitch with some of my heroes all while raising money for such a great cause. To be given the captain’s armband is a real honour and I’m determined to lead us to victory!”
Harry Redknapp said: “‘Harry Redknapp, England Manager’ – who would ever have thought that, eh? Not that I was keeping score – but they tell me that England haven’t won since 2018. Oh dear. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I would never turn my country down, so when they asked me to be England Manager, I had to say yes. I know Usain is a bit miffed I’m leaving him – but the big man will get over that! I hope to see you all there on Sunday 12th June. Get your tickets now!”
Alex Scott said: “The line-up this year looks amazing! I can’t wait for Sunday 12th June to come around. How special is it going to be to see Usain back at the London Stadium ten years on from his gold medal wins in 2012? As everyone knows, I’m Arsenal through-and-through, so it’s going to be incredible to see the boss – Mr Wenger – back in the dugout again! Of course, this is all for a really worthy cause – and one I know you’ll all support.”
UNICEF UK Ambassador and Soccer Aid for UNICEF Presenter, Dermot O’Leary, said: "It is going to be an amazing game this year – just look at the line-up! Robbie, Usain, Arsène and Liam to name just four of the stars taking part. The London Stadium is such a great and iconic venue – 10 years on from when I watched Usain in the heats on his way to winning his gold medal there in 2012. It was incredible.
“As a UNICEF UK Ambassador I have been lucky to see some of the work made possible by Soccer Aid for UNICEF over the years – your donations really do make a huge difference and couldn’t be more important, this year in particular”
Kenneth Shepherd, Executive Director, Soccer Aid Productions, said: “We are delighted that Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2022 will take place at the iconic London Stadium, this June. The match promises to be one of the best yet with an incredible talent line-up, including Usain Bolt, Arsene Wenger, Liam Payne and Robbie Williams – amongst many others. I would also like to thank our Principle Partners – Primark, JD, PUMA and Evri – and our Official Partners – STATSports and EA – the support and generosity of which is invaluable in allowing us to raise important funds for UNICEF. More exciting partnerships and talent will be announced in the coming weeks, so watch this space. We are honoured to see the growth of Soccer Aid for UNICEF go from strength to strength.”
There will be a Soccer Aid for UNICEF week across ITV and STV in the lead up to the match. More information on these shows will be announced in due course.
Soccer Aid for UNICEF is delighted to welcome back returning Principal Partners Primark, JD and PUMA – and a special welcome to Evri who join as the latest Principal Partner. Similarly, STATSports and EA have all renewed as Official Partners. Further details on these exciting partnerships will follow.
Tickets for the game are on sale now via www.socceraid.org.uk/tickets with a family of four able to attend for just £60 – two adults and two children.