Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2022, broadcast live and exclusively on ITV and STV last week from the London Stadium, has raised a record-breaking £15,673,728 so far for UNICEF’s vital work giving children around the world the care-free, play filled childhoods they are entitled to.
This record-breaking amount was raised thanks to the generous support of the UK public, ITV and STV viewers, and The Power of Nutrition who have matched donations up to £4 million, meaning double the difference for children. This figure has smashed last year’s record total for money raised on the night.
The hotly anticipated match took place at the sold-out London Stadium with 54,410 fans in attendance, 10 years on from the London 2012 Summer Olympics. The match ended 4-1 on penalties to Soccer Aid World XI, taking them into the overall lead with 6-5 wins since the inaugural 2006 match. UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, David Beckham OBE presented the Soccer Aid for UNICEF shield to the winning Soccer Aid World XI team. UNICEF UK Ambassador, Robbie Williams, delivered a special half time performance, captivating the crowd with fan-favourite, Angels.
It was another enthralling contest between England and the Soccer Aid World XI, with Liam Payne captaining the England Team, and Usain Bolt handing over captaincy to Ukrainian football manager, Andriy Shevchenko. England, co-managed by Vicky McClure and football legends Harry Redknapp, David Seaman and Emma Hayes were up against Idris Elba, legendary manager Arsène Wenger and Soccer Aid for UNICEF stalwart Robbie Keane.
The first half saw fan favourite Chunkz concede a penalty against Noah Beck, with Beck scoring the first goal of the match for the Soccer Aid World XI. Moments later, roles reversed when Beck conceded a penalty against Chunkz. After much deliberation, Mark Wright stepped up and clinched an equaliser for England minutes before half time, in his first goal since 2016. Minutes into the second-half Tom Grennan took the lead for the England before another equaliser hit the back of the net by Kem Cetinay, who has now netted a goal in each of the matches he has played in. When the whistle blew at 90 minutes, the score was level at 2-2 with the game ending on penalties. Lee Mack scored the winning penalty for Soccer Aid World XI – gloriously clinching the winning goal for his team for the second year in a row.
Alex Brooker, who became the first disabled player to take part in a Soccer Aid for UNICEF match, made his debut and delivered a fantastic performance in the first 15 minutes of the match before jokingly offering to come back on as goalkeeper. Power-house Eni Aluko delivered countless shots at goal, matched by brilliant saves from the world’s strongest man, Tom Stoltman.
As the only official FA sanctioned mixed gender match, Fara Williams returned for England, whilst Chelcee Grimes returned for the Soccer Aid World XI FC. Eni Aluko, Anita Asante, Heather O’Reilly and Carli Lloyd all made their Soccer Aid for UNICEF debuts.
Making up the rest of the star-studded squads were new and returning players Damian Lewis CBE, Sir Mo Farah, Martin Compston, Lee Mack, David Harewood, Tom Grennan, Noah Beck, Steven Bartlett, Chunkz, Mark Wright, Aitch, Mo Gilligan, Russell Howard, Munya Chawawa, Tom Stoltman, Mark Strong and Kem Cetinay. They were joined by football legends David James, Gary Neville, Jamie Carragher, Stewart Downing, Joe Cole, Teddy Sheringham, Mark Noble, Petr Cech, Roberto Carlos, Patrice Evra, Cafu, Andrea Pirlo and Andriy Shevchenko.
The show was presented by UNICEF UK Ambassador, Dermot O'Leary and pitch side reporter Alex Scott, who recently returned from Namibia where she saw UNICEF’s work first-hand. Maya Jama was back in the pundit seat, joined by Jermaine Jenas.
Commentary for the match was provided by Sam Matterface, who was joined by former Soccer Aid World XI FC player and the infamous voice of ITV’s Love Island, Iain Stirling. The Appreciation Station returned to the stadium this year with UNICEF UK Ambassador James Nesbitt and famous faces including Barney Walsh, Peter Andre, Rachel Stephens and Dafne Keen offering their thanks to generous ITV viewers making donations throughout the night.
Throughout the ITV show, short appeal films presented by UNICEF UK Ambassadors David Harewood, Ewan McGregor, Eddie Izzard, and supporters Alex Scott, Damian Lewis and Vicky McClure highlighted where the vital money raised by Soccer Aid for UNICEF goes. Damian Lewis’ half-time appeal film focused on the current war in Ukraine from the Romanian border, where UNICEF is supporting children affected by the war and making sure they get what they need to be safe and secure and can rediscover the joy of a childhood full of play.
The money raised through Soccer Aid for UNICEF could help UNICEF provide vaccines, fight malnutrition, and provide safe spaces to protect children in times of crisis, like the 7.5 million children affected by the war in Ukraine, and the 200 million children worldwide unable to reach their full potential due to malnutrition – giving children around the world the care-free, play filled childhoods they are entitled to.
Robbie Williams, Soccer Aid for UNICEF co-founder and UNICEF UK Ambassador said: “Wow, tonight was absolutely incredible. Performing Angels in front of the Soccer Aid crowd at London Stadium was such a memorable moment I will never forget. What an amazing achievement to have raised a record-breaking £15.6 million for UNICEF to support children around the world this year, I can’t believe that we smashed the £13 million we raised last year. It’s money that will make such a huge difference to the lives of children that need it the most, wherever they are in the world, so thank you to everyone that donated.”
Jon Sparkes OBE, Chief Executive at the UK Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK), said: “Huge congratulations to Soccer Aid World XI for their incredible win this evening! What an absolute joy it was to watch the England and Soccer Aid World XI play, and an astonishing amount raised for children around the world. I’m so proud of what we achieved tonight, raising £15.6 million to give children the care-free, play filled childhoods they are entitled to. A massive thank you to the public for their support and remember – it’s not too late to donate!”
Simon Bishop, CEO, The Power of Nutrition said: “Tonight’s game was brilliant, but most importantly, we’re thrilled to see that the public dug deep, raising such a huge amount to ensure every child, wherever they are, has the right nutrition to fulfil their potential. We’re delighted to have matched these donations, helping UNICEF in its important work to fight childhood malnutrition at such a critical time.”
Kevin Lygo, Director of Television, ITV said: “Everyone at ITV is so grateful to all those that tuned in and donated – raising more money than ever to support UNICEF’s work helping children that really need it, wherever they are. Nights such as this are a brilliant reminder of the power we have when we all come together, and I’d like to thank all of the wonderful talent who took part for giving up their time to be involved in this special event.”