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Tuesday, 1 December 2020


Soccer Aid will be played behind closed doors this year in September

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SOCCER Aid for Unicef has announced that the world’s biggest charity football match will take place this September at Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United.

Viewers will get to enjoy the match from the comfort of their sofas as the game will be broadcast live on ITV and STV and, for the first time ever, will be played behind closed doors.

The star-studded match will still be a game like no other. Just as competitive. Just as entertaining. And at a time when Generation COVID desperately need Unicef’s support, it will bring the nation together in their living rooms, through their TV sets, to help Unicef provide everything from clean water to lifesaving vaccinations.

Coronavirus is the biggest global crisis for vulnerable children and families since the Second World War. Every day for the next 6 months, 6,000 more children could die as coronavirus pushes national health systems to breaking point. A whole generation of children is at risk. Children around the world need the public’s support now more than ever, so Soccer Aid for Unicef has pulled out all the stops to ensure the match can go ahead.

This year’s teams of celebrities and former professional footballers will ‘Play for Generation COVID’, to help stop the spread of coronavirus and limit the impact on children’s lives. An announcement on the big names taking to the pitch in the 11-a-side game between England and the Soccer Aid World XI FC will be made in due course, with further details on the other elements of the TV show to also follow.

The match raises funds to help children get the best start in life. This year, the money raised through Soccer Aid for Unicef will also help stop the spread of coronavirus and limit the impact on children’s lives – and every £1 donated until 6 October 2020 will become £3, thanks to the UK government and Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance.

Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, said:

“The work of UNICEF and the rest of the Vaccine Alliance keeping immunisation going in the world’s most vulnerable countries has never been more important.

“COVID-19 is disrupting vaccine programmes across the world, risking the resurgence of deadly diseases like measles and polio.

“That’s why this year’s Soccer Aid for Unicef is so vital, raising funds to help us continue to protect children from deadly diseases. It will also help Gavi and UNICEF ensure COVID-19 vaccines are available to the poorest countries. As long as this disease is circulating anywhere it remains a threat everywhere.”

International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: 

“The UK government is proud to be teaming up with Soccer Aid for Unicef for the seventh year – doubling donations from the British public through our UK Aid Match scheme.

“Together, we have already helped improve the lives of over 1.2 million of the world’s most vulnerable children, and this year Soccer Aid for Unicef’s goal is to stop the worst impacts of the coronavirus pandemic by providing clean water for drinking and hand-washing to communities, schools and health centres.

“UK aid is matching every Soccer Aid for Unicef donation pound for pound. With Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance doing the same, that means every £1 donated until October 6 will become £3, so please give generously.”

Since 2006, Soccer Aid for Unicef has raised over £38m to help give children all over the world a childhood full of play. Soccer Aid for Unicef 2019 raised a record-breaking £7.9m.

The 2020 match had been originally scheduled for Sunday 6th June. However, in light of the Coronavirus outbreak, and for the health and safety of all involved, a decision was taken to postpone the game until it was safe to reconvene.

The game’s resumption is happening in line with UK Government advice and stringent health and safety protocols.

As supporters will be unable to attend this year’s game, anyone who has already purchased tickets for the original match, through official Manchester United ticketing channels, will automatically receive a full refund which will be processed from Monday 17 August (and may take up to 7 days to complete). Alternatively, ticket holders are being encouraged to consider donating the value of their ticket and make triple the impact to Unicef – a £20 ticket becomes £60 thanks to the UK government and GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance. An e-mail on how to make this donation will be sent to all ticket holders shortly.

Soccer Aid for Unicef will air exclusively on ITV and STV in September.

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