Whenever one reads about the latest football player donating a sum of money to a charitable cause, one can’t help but cynically question his — or his publicist’s — motives. In an age where players are earning up to £300,000 per week, there is growing resentment from fans who can’t relate to the ever-climbing astronomical wages being commanded from players. Whilst the fans’ position that is understandable, does it really matter? Is it really worth questioning one’s motives when, on the surface at least, they seem sincere and more importantly benefit a good cause?
Welcome to my series which seeks to highlight fifteen of the most charitable football players past and present who are using their financial advantage and star power to make a real difference to those less fortunate.
David Beckham (Retired)
Former clubs: Preston North End, Manchester United, Real Madrid, AC Milan, LA Galaxy, Paris Saint-Germain
Beckham is a founding member of “Malaria No More,” which seeks to eradicate the deadly disease that afflicts so many particularly in heavily impoverished areas of the world. He is also a strong supporter of Help for Heroes: a British charity which seeks to help those who have been injured whilst serving in active duty defending their country.
Of course, he is the namesake along with his wife, Victoria, for the Victoria and David Beckham Charitable Trust. The noble cause provides aids to children in need such as wheelchairs.
Beckham has been a very outspoken supporter of UNICEF for whom he serves as an official ambassador. The organisation helps those less than fortunate around the world, with his focus being on the Unite Against AIDS Campaign. In 2007, he travelled to Sierra Leone, where he had this to say about the current situation in one of the world’s most impoverished countries:
“We can’t turn a blind eye to the tens of thousands of young children who die every day in the developing world mostly from causes that are preventable. In Sierra Leone, one in four children dies before reaching their fifth birthday – it’s shocking and tragic especially when the solutions are simple – things like vaccinations against measles or using a mosquito net to reduce the chance of getting malaria.”
His work with UNICEF has extended to several other important projects.
- 2005 — emergency supplies for children affected by the Tsunami
- 2008 — helped to launch UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children report — his focus global attention on premature death amongst children
- 2009— worked with children living with HIV and AIDS in South Africa
- 2011 — helped to launch an appeal for the East African food crisis
- 2012 — spearheaded an open letter to David Cameron that included 50 very influential signatories regarding the global hunger and malnutrition summit
- 2013 — launched an appeal for the 1.7 million displaced in Typhoon Haiyan
- 2014 — supported UNICEF’s efforts to eradicate the Ebola outbreak
Next instalment: Michael Essien
To follow along with the series, please visit Charitable Football Players.