Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2024, broadcast live from Stamford Bridge, London, last week has raised £15 million, for UNICEF’s vital work helping give children around the world happy, healthy, and play-filled childhoods.

Thanks to the generous UK public, UNICEF UK supporters, ITV1, ITVX and STV viewers, this year’s amount sees the current total, raised since 2006 – when UNICEF UK Ambassador Robbie Williams founded the concept – hit a record fundraising milestone of over £106 million for children worldwide. This year, with thanks to the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, every donation made up to £4 million was doubled.

The hotly anticipated match took place at the sold-out Stamford Bridge stadium in London – returning for the third time in Soccer Aid for UNICEF history and welcoming back over 40,000 fans. The match ended 6-3 to England, with the Three Lions taking the win for the first time in six years. World XI keep the overall lead with 7-6 wins since the inaugural 2006 match.

During half time, UNICEF UK Ambassadors Tom Hiddleston and Dermot O'Leary as well as UNICEF UK High Profile Supporters Alex Scott and Martin Compston addressed the stadium crowd and viewers at home together with a special speech, galvanising donations to UNICEF. Followed by a captivating and inspiring performance by Tom Walker singing hit song ‘The Best Is Yet To Come’.

It was another enthralling contest between England and the Soccer Aid World XI FC, with a rematch between team captains, as Lioness Jill Scott returned to lead the way for England, and Olympian Usain Bolt skippered for the Soccer Aid World XI FC, following a sterling performance in 2023’s match.

This year, Frank Lampard made his Soccer Aid for UNICEF debut as England co-manager alongside his uncle, Harry Redknapp and co-founder Robbie Williams, with Vicky McClure and David Seaman making up the supporting coaching team. They were up against the Soccer Aid World XI FC management team made up of returning football manager Mauricio Pochettino with Jesus Perez, Robbie Keane and Toni Jimenez. This year, both teams were also supported by special ‘skills coach’ Billy Wingrove, who got the last-minute call up to play for Soccer Aid World XI FC.

England’s Joe Cole opened the scoring just six minutes into the game. Less than ten minutes later, Eden Hazard marked his return to Stamford Bridge and scored the equalizer, before Usain Bolt set up Alessandro Del Piero and propelled the World XI team into the lead. However, just before half time, England’s Ellen White became the first female goal scorer in Soccer Aid for UNICEF history, levelling the score 2-2.

The second half opened with Steven Bartlett striking for England seconds after coming off the bench. Jermain Defoe then added a fourth goal for England, with World XI’s Bolt stretchered off due to injury. Minutes later, Bartlett – named player of the match – struck again, before Billy Wingrove scored a penalty for World XI attempting to turn the game around. The match concluded with a goal fed by Karen Carney and finished by Theo Walcott, sealing a 6-3 victory for England – their first win in six years.

As the only official FA sanctioned mixed gender match, Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2024 saw more female celebrity players take part than ever before, with celebrity player debuts from Olympian Sam Quek for England, and Gladiator’s Diamond for World XI. Team England was once again led by Lioness Jill Scott, whilst Karen Carney returned to play for England and fellow Lioness and Euro 2022 winner Ellen White made her debut. For World XI, ex-professional Kaylyn Kyle and celebrity player Maisie Adam returned, whilst professionals Kheira Hamraoui and Olga Garcia made their first Soccer Aid for UNICEF appearances too. The match officials for the game featured an all-female line up once again, with Rebecca Welch as referee, Natalie Aspinall and Emily Carney as assistants and Jane Simms returning as the 4th official.

Making up the rest of the star-studded squads were new and returning players Paddy McGuinness, Steven Bartlett, Danny Dyer, Alex Brooker, Tom Grennan, Sir Mo Farah, Stuart Broad, Bobby Brazier, Sam Thompson, Simon Minter, Eddie Hearn, Tom Hiddleston, Tony Bellew, Usain Bolt, Martin Compston, Roman Kemp, Tommy Fury, Lee Mack, Jason Manford, Micheal Ward, Tion Wayne, Emmett J Scanlan and Theo Baker. They were joined by football legends David James, Gary Cahill, Ashley Cole, Joe Cole, Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott, Jermain Defoe, Petr Cech, Patrice Evra, Eden Hazard, John Obi Mikel, Michael Essien and Alessandro Del Piero.

The show was once again presented by UNICEF UK Ambassador, Dermot O’Leary and UNICEF UK High Profile Supporter, Alex Scott. Jermaine Jenas was back in the pundit seat, joined by Soccer Aid for UNICEF player, Jason Manford and borrowing World XI’s coach Vicky McClure.

Returning to the beautiful game, commentators were Sam Matterface and former Soccer Aid World XI FC player and the infamous voice of ITV’s Love Island, Iain Stirling – before making his cameo play on pitch. The ‘Appreciation Station’ also returned to the stadium this year with famous faces including Greg Rutherford, Joe Swash and Anita Rani who all picked up the phones to give thanks to generous viewers making donations throughout the night.

Throughout the ITV show, short fundraising appeal films presented by UNICEF UK Ambassador Tom Hiddleston, UNICEF UK High Profile Supporter Martin Compston and supporters Jill Scott, Tom Grennan, Cush Jumbo and Oti Mabuse highlighted where the vital money raised by Soccer Aid for UNICEF goes. Jill Scott’s film focused on her trip to Romania this year, where she saw how UNICEF is helping Ukrainian refugee children who have fled their homes due to the war, providing safe spaces to call home, supporting their mental wellbeing and ensuring they can continue to learn, play and just be children.

The money raised from this year’s game could help UNICEF protect children from disease and malnutrition, support their mental health and respond in times of crisis such as in Gaza, Sudan and Ukraine, so they can get back to learning when schools are destroyed. It could also help provide vaccines to prevent common childhood diseases such as measles, so that children worldwide can grow up happy, healthy and able to play.

The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation doubled every donation made to this year’s Soccer Aid for UNICEF campaign up to £4 million, which will go directly to the Child Nutrition Fund, in a bid to accelerate the fight against child wasting – the most life-threatening form of malnutrition, robbing children of their childhoods.

Before the match kicked off, the game’s new mascot was revealed – a caterpillar named ‘Soccer Seren’ designed by 10-year-old Nahla, UNICEF UK mascot competition winner. Nahla gave her mascot its own pair of goalie gloves, to represent her position within her local football team, as well as including the words of UNICEF’s values to its body.

Robbie Williams, Soccer Aid for UNICEF co-founder and UNICEF UK Ambassador said: “I’m so proud to be back for another brilliant Soccer Aid for UNICEF event – and what a night it was! When we first started in 2006, we never imagined that one day we’d reach a total of over £100 million for UNICEF and children who need it most – it’s incredible. I’m so grateful to everyone who has got involved and donated. Your money will be life-changing for millions of children worldwide, giving them back the right to play!”

Tom Hiddleston, UNICEF UK Ambassador said: “I’m thrilled to be back for Soccer Aid for UNICEF this year. It’s an amazing event – both on the pitch, having the privilege to play with some of the world’s best sportspeople, athletes and entertainers, and most importantly, off the pitch, raising vital funds to help children worldwide. I’ve been lucky enough to travel with UNICEF over the years in my role as Ambassador and I’ve seen firsthand the real difference your money makes – so, thank you to everyone who donated this year. UNICEF will continue to be there for the world’s most disadvantaged children, so let’s make £100 million just the start!”

Jon Sparkes OBE, Chief Executive at the UK Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK), said: “A huge well done to Team England for taking the win tonight! Not only did our favourite celebrity and football heroes put on a top performance for crowds, but an astounding £15 million has been raised for the world’s children. It’s a huge achievement to reach over £100 million in total and it has only inspired us to continue to raise as much as we can for children in years to come. Thank you to everyone in the stadium and at home for their generous support. There’s still time to donate, so please do continue to give what you can to help even more children have happy and play-filled childhoods.”

Katie Rawcliffe, ITV’s Head of Entertainment Commissioning, said: “On behalf of ITV I want to say a massive thank you to everyone who has donated, tuned in and given up their time to be a part of Soccer Aid for UNICEF. It’s been another brilliant event, showcasing the very best talent across the worlds of entertainment and sport, all with a very special message to raise vital funds for UNICEF. We are incredibly proud to broadcast such an amazing show.”

Kenneth Shepherd, executive director, Soccer Aid Productions, said: “From Soccer Aid for UNICEF being a one-off match in 2006 to 13 live shows later and over £100 million raised for UNICEF is truly overwhelming. This couldn’t have been achieved without the support of all the talent, sponsors, ITV and our brilliant venue partners, starting with Manchester United’s Old Trafford and our hosts for a second time, Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge. The UNICEF and Soccer Aid Production teams behind the scenes who work tirelessly need a special mention and a real thank you for all they do to change children’s lives around the world.”

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