Unicef to hold Soccer Aid fundraising match behind closed doors

04 Aug 2020 News

Soccer Aid 2019

Image credit: Unicef

Unicef will hold its Soccer Aid fundraising match behind closed doors this September.

The game was initially scheduled for Sunday 6 June, but was postponed because of coronavirus. The charity has now decided to go ahead with it, but no audience will be physically present during the event.

The match will take place at Old Trafford, Manchester United’s stadium, and will be broadcast on ITV and STV. The exact date and the players are yet to be announced.

Soccer Aid for Unicef raised £7.9m in 2019, and has raised a total of £38m since it was first held in 2006. This includes ticket prices.

As the match is being held behind close doors, organisers are automatically refunding everyone who had originally purchased a ticket for the June match. However, they are also encouraging ticket holders to donate the price of their tickets instead.

The event will be raising funds for Unicef’s emergency coronavirus appeal, Save Generation Covid, to support vulnerable children impacted by the pandemic. The organisation is aiming to raise £1.3bn globally for its pandemic response.

Donations being matched by two funders

For the first time this year, Unicef has a double match-funding programme in place for Soccer Aid donations.

Both the Department for International Development, through its UK Aid Match programme, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, will be donating £1 to Unicef for every £1 given by the public. This also applies to donated ticket fares, and means a £20 donation will result in £60 for the charity.

‘Please give generously’

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.” 

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, international development secretary, 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.”

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