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Soccer Aid for Unicef has today announced that the world’s biggest charity football match will take place this September at Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United. For the first time ever, the game will be played behind closed doors. The match will be shown exclusively on ITV.

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. Every £1 donated becomes £3, thanks to the UK Government and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. All tickets purchased for the original event will be automatically refunded or can be donated to Unicef

Also announced, the first set of players to take part: Jason Manford, Santan Dave, Kelly Smith MBE, Patrice Evra and David James to make their Soccer Aid for Unicef debuts alongside returning stars Yaya Touré, Olly Murs, Kem Cetinay and Joe Wicks.

Dermot O’Leary will present the live show, with Kirsty Gallacher returning as pitch side reporter. Dermot said: “I'm thrilled to be back hosting this year's Soccer Aid for Unicef match. It's always a pleasure tobe involved in such a great cause. It will be a little different this year with no crowds in the stadium but fans can still tune in on ITV and hopefully we'll raise even more money to improve children's lives around the world. It's also going to be a whole lot of fun and hopefully bring a little light relief in these strange times.”

Olly Murs said: “I am buzzing that Soccer Aid for Unicef is back! It couldn’t be more important to get the game on this year and to make it a massive success. We are playing for ‘Generation Covid’ and the children around the world who will be affected by this awful virus. I know that you can’t come and see us in the stadium, but you can still donate and, this year, your donation is three times more valuable. The UK Government and Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance are matching every pound raised, up to £3 million until 6th October – so, a £1 donation becomes £3, which is just incredible. We have the chance to make this year’s match one of our most successful ever. I can’t wait to get going!”

Joe Wicks said: “When you get the call up to play for the England side at the Soccer Aid for Unicef match, it’s impossible to say no! It’s an amazing experience to play with some of football’s biggest legends and this years’ game is going to be particularly special. We know we are playing to help Unicef’s vital work to help stop coronavirus making life even tougher for vulnerable children around the world. You can play your part too by watching the match and donating – and knowing that every pound donated automatically becomes three, thanks to the UK Government and Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance.”

Kelly Smith MBE said: “It’s an honour to be asked to play in Soccer Aid for Unicef. I was delighted to see female players playing in the game for the first time last year and now I get my chance to pull on the England shirt again. I loved representing the Lionesses during my career and I’m really looking forward to doing it again at Old Trafford. It’s fantastic that we’re able to get the game back on and help Unicef stop coronavirus making life even tougher forvulnerable children and families around the world. I’d urge people to watch the show because together we’re playing for generation covid and raising vital funds in the process.”

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

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