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Wayne Rooney Foundation to resurrect fundraising after spending down £2.3m

05 Nov 2020 News

Wayne Rooney at Euro 2012

Image credit: under Creative Commons 3.0

The charity established by former England football captain Wayne Rooney has said it will raise more money, after distributing the full £2.3m it has received since 2016.

The Wayne Rooney Foundation has previously said that it hoped to raise £5m for children’s charities, but has brought in less than half that amount during its first four years.

The foundation’s most recent accounts, for the year ending 31 October 2019,  state that it planned to “distribute substantially all revenues” by the end of October 2020. Civil Society News understands that it met this target by giving away the remaining £200,000 before last month’s deadline.

The accounts also say that the board planned to “consider the long-term future of the foundation” after October. Trustees have now been instructed to look at ways to resurrect fundraising activities so that the charity can continue its work.

Funds concentrated in first year

The Wayne Rooney Foundation was established with a £1.6m endowment raised from the footballer’s testimonial match, played by Everton and Manchester United in August 2016.

Rob Cotton, the chair of trustees at the foundation, told the Manchester Evening News after that match that he hoped the charity would "reach our fundraising goal of £5m".

The foundation raised £2,375,229 in total between 2016 and 2019, of which 91% was raised in its first year. Accounts filed with the Charity Commission showed that the foundation only held one fundraising event between October 2017 and October 2019.

The accounts also show that the foundation had distributed all but £207,000 of its money by October last year, with six-figure donations made to Alder Hey Children’s Charity, Claire House Children’s Hospice, the NSPCC, and the Manchester United Foundation, as well as £50,000 to Everton in the Community.

It also made a £200,000 donation to the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund, set up after the 2017 terrorist attack on the Manchester Arena.


Although the foundation raised a large sum from Rooney’s testimonial, it has missed out on potential funds from other football matches in the past.

In 2018, when Rooney earned his final England cap in a friendly match against the USA, the Football Association decided not to give the money raised from ticket sales to the charity, even though the FA had billed the game as the Wayne Rooney Foundation International.

The FA said it would help the foundation raise cash by organising collections from fans outside the ground instead, but no money was collected after delays arranging the process, according to reports at the time. Fans were able to donate by text.

Rooney goes to Washington

The trustees believe fundraising in recent years has been affected in part by Rooney’s spell playing football overseas, Civil Society News understands. Rooney played for DC United in Washington for 14 months in 2018 and 2019.

Rooney is England’s highest-ever goal scorer, and played for the national side 119 times.

After a hugely successful career in England playing for Everton and Manchester United, Rooney now plays for Derby County. Derby are currently 23rd in the Championship.

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