World Cup squad to donate all of their match fees to charity.
England’s football stars have agreed to give their match fees at the World Cup to charity for the first time. The entire squad has been putting match fees paid for international matches into a charity pot for the last two years, raising more than £1m.
But as Fabio Capello’s men prepare to head for South Africa, this will be the first time any England team has donated fees at a World Cup Finals.
Charities that will benefit include WellChild, Childrens Hospices UK, the Bobby Moore Fund, the PFA and the Team England Footballer’s Charity Outreach Programme.
The players have also launched a poster campaign to raise awareness of their charity partners with a motto 'Together We're Stronger'.
Defender John Terry explained: “When we first sat down to talk about what to do with our match fees, we all agreed we are privileged to be footballers and to wear the England shirt. To step out onto that Wembley pitch is a dream for everyone and to get paid for it didn’t seem right, so that’s why we decided to give the money to charity.
“We’re not living in a bubble, we have all come from living on estates in Barking, Peckham, Manchester or wherever it may be. We have people in our own families or people we know from home who are very sick or need help. That’s why these charities mean so much to us.
“This is the first time in a World Cup that the players’ match fees will be going to charity, which I think is a great thing."
The players have already made dozens of public appearances to back their chosen charities and the poster campaign features England's superstars lining up alongside some of the people they have helped.
Liverpool star Steven Gerrard added: “This campaign is about standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our charity partners and showing we are together.
“The players donate their match fees from the England games and we also give up our time. So far, we’ve helped pay nurses and we’ve helped young children to turn their lives around – we’ve done an awful lot.
“The power of football is incredible. The whole country stops to support the World Cup and we’ve got to realise that we are celebrities, a lot of people look up to us and that is where the power comes from. Fans support us and we want to show them we are here to help as well. And hopefully if we can win the World Cup we can make them happy too!”
Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe is also backing the campaign, saying: “It’s good to show footballers care because some people don’t see that side of things. When we sat down together we all agreed we wanted to help. We are not cut off from life; we’ve all got kids and families that we go home to, so we all want a better society.”
Of course the players realise the first thing they can do to cheer the nation up is to achieve what no England team has been able to do since Bobby Moore's boys in 1966 – and win the World Cup!
“It’s what dreams are made of,” said Gerrard. “This is what I grew up always wanting and I can’t wait to get over there and get the games started. We would all love to bring the trophy back for everyone.”
For more information, please visit: www.teamenglandfootballerscharity.com