Wembley Stadium Hosts Soccer Aid 2008

Monday, 21, July, 2008

World Cup legends and top celebrities go head-to-head in an England versus The Rest of The World football match, as Soccer Aid 2008, in aid of UNICEF and its partners, returns to ITV1.

With Ant and Dec hosting, this year’s event takes place live on the hallowed turf of Wembley Stadium where the crowd will be treated to a unique opportunity to see football legends take to the pitch alongside their celebrity counterparts.

Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp is stepping up to manage England and his squad includes football legends Jamie Redknapp and Alan Shearer, as well as celebrities Kyran Bracken, Ben Shephard, Gareth Gates, Jamie Theakston, and Jonathan Wilkes. Meanwhile, legendary Scot Kenny Dalglish will take charge of the Rest of the World and players hoping to make it into his starting line up include Westlife’s Nicky Byrne, Alastair Campbell, Patrick Kielty, Brian Lara, Jesse Metcalfe and Peter Schmeichel.

Gordon Ramsay returns to captain Rest of the World, but team England have a new skipper. Robbie Williams is passing on his captain’s armband, and the responsibility of deciding who will take his place is in the capable hands of manager Harry Redknapp.

As the originator of the Soccer Aid concept, Robbie is confident that again the match will be of huge benefit to UNICEF’s work around the world.

Robbie Williams says: "Being able to help so many people through Soccer Aid was one of the true highlights of my life. I’m gutted that this time round my knee isn’t up to it so unfortunately I’m out of the game. But I hope that everyone involved has the time of their life like I did, raises loads of money for UNICEF and that the best side wins.”

Tim Lovejoy and Louise Redknapp will bring all the action from the sidelines while pundits and special studio guests will deliver their live analysis of the beautiful game.

Each squad comprises eleven celebrities and five world cup greats. With less than a week for the players to train and bond before the big game, the pressure is on to get match fit and performance ready.

The brainchild of UNICEF ambassador Robbie Williams and Jonathan Wilkes, Soccer Aid which was last held at Old Trafford in 2006, attracted a host of world class players and celebrities including Diego Maradona, David Ginola, Angus Deayton, Patrick Kielty, Gianfranco Zola, Alastair Campbell, Paul Gascoigne and Jamie Redknapp. The all star match raised an impressive £2.6 million for UNICEF’s work with partners for children around the world.

Last time round, England reigned victorious at Old Trafford. But on new turf with new teams, at the new Wembley Stadium, it’s a clean slate. With all players determined to score that winning goal and lift the prestigious Soccer Aid 2008 trophy, it’s anyone’s game.

Soccer Aid is raising funds for UNICEF’s health, education and protection work with vulnerable children all over the world. UNICEF helps children to survive and thrive in more than 190 countries worldwide, working with partners to provide emergency support and long-term development solutions. UNICEF is funded entirely by voluntary contributions.

Produced by Initial, an Endemol Company for ITV1. Soccer Aid has been commissioned for ITV1 by ITV’s Controller of Alternative Programming Layla Smith and the Executive Producers are David Staite and Nic McNeilis.

For tickets to Soccer Aid 2008, call 0871 230 7148 or go to www.ITV.com/socceraid.

(Calls are charged 10p a minute from a BT landline. Costs from other networks may be higher. And calls from mobiles will be considerably higher )

For more information on how Soccer Aid will benefit UNICEF and its partners and how the public can get involved in football fundraising, visit www.unicef.org.uk/socceraid