ITV has announced a series of shows for the run up to the 10th anniversary match of Soccer Aid for UNICEF.

The match will broadcast live on ITV and STV, and the ITV Hub, on 4 September.

ITV has made two new original commissions and a series of celebrity specials of popular shows in aid of raising awareness and funds for UNICEF.

Lee Mack’s Road to Soccer Aid follows the comedian’s journey to get match fit, improve his technique and banish his footballing demons in the hope that he will score at Manchester City’s Eithad Stadium on the 4 September.

After three penalty misses in three consecutive Soccer Aid matches, Lee has his work cut out and has decided to pull up his socks and pull out all the stops to make Soccer Aid 2021 his year.  Along the way “Lee meets some famous friends, experts and sporting legends to help him achieve his dream.”

The 60 minute special, produced by Initial, will also explore how children around the world have benefitted from the generosity of the Soccer Aid audience as Lee finds out more about the lives that have been changed by the work of UNICEF. He’ll also be asking his famous friends to sponsor him along the way, “which results in a few unexpected challenges for Lee.”

Included in the Soccer Aid week, and announced last month, is 90 minute special On Yer Bike for Soccer Aid – hosted by presenter and cricketing icon Freddie Flintoff. He will be joined on screen by cycling legend Sir Bradley Wiggins as the eight celebrities take to the saddle for this epic cycling challenge. Split into two teams of four, England versus the World, they will go head to head over three epic cycling legs, all set in the dramatic backdrop of rural Yorkshire

There will also be special episodes of The Cube, Tenable, Tipping Point, The Chase and Catchphrase, all in aid of raising funds for Soccer Aid for UNICEF. These episodes will air in Soccer Aid Week and names will be announced shortly.

ITV’s This Morning, Loose Women, Martin and Roman Weekend Best and James Martin’s Saturday Morning are all supporting this years campaign with special programming and guests to raise awareness for the cause.

The Soccer Aid for UNICEF celebrity football match players this year include Usain Bolt, Olly Murs, Mark Wright, Paddy McGuinness, Sir Mo Farah, Ore Oduba, Joel Dommett, Liv Cooke, Roman Kemp and Chunkz. Longstanding host and UNICEF UK Ambassador Dermot O’Leary returns and will be joined by new touchline reporter Alex Scott and pundit Maya Jama.

The line-up is further strengthened by football stars including Wayne Rooney, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, Kelly Smith, Roberto Carlos, Patrice Evra, David James, Emile Heskey and Jamie Redknapp. Harry Redknapp returns as Manager of the Soccer Aid World XI FC, while Micah Richards and David Seaman join the England coaching team with the Sven-Goran Eriksson as England Manager.

David Beckham, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador will also be in attendance and will present the trophy to the winning team on the night.

Since 2006 – when UNICEF UK Ambassador Robbie Williams co-founded the concept – Soccer Aid for UNICEF has raised over £47m. Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2020 raised a record breaking £9.3 million and, with the support of the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2021 is hoping to raise more money than ever with every donation and the value of every ticket sale doubled, up to £6.3 million.


Jon Creamer

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