Football Federation Australia (FFA) announced yesterday that a host of former international footballers will play in a special bushfire relief match at ANZ Stadium on May 23.
A list of players confirmed for the game in Sydney include: Didier Drogba, Dwight Yorke, Claudio Marchisio, Dario Simic, John Aloisi, Dwayne De Rosario, Ji-Sung Park, Simon Colosimo, David Trezeguet, Alecko Eskandarian, Mark Bosnich, Con Boutsianis, Pedro Mendes, Le Cong Vinh, Emile Heskey, Michael Bridges and Geremi.
Australian fans will also have the chance to properly send-off retired Socceroos captain Mark Milligan.
All proceeds from the game will go towards restoring local football facilities for clubs that have been affected by the fires nation-wide.
Football supporters from Australia and around the world will also be able to donate to rebuild fire-ravaged communities.
FFA CEO James Johnson was delighted with the idea of the ‘Football for Fires’ exhibition match.
“The thoughts of the entire football family have been with the victims of these terrible bushfires over the past few weeks,” Johnson said.
“We now we have this important opportunity to harness the power of our global sport to raise funds to assist in the re-build of our local devastated communities, and honour the brave men and women who have put their own lives at risk during this unprecedented natural disaster.
“I’d like to thank the NSW government, Football NSW and Northern NSW Football for their support of this event, and Lou Sticca and Tribal Sports Group for their work in pulling together such a great list of players.
“I urge all football fans to join us on 23 May at ANZ Stadium for what promises to be a unique and memorable event,” he added.
Lou Sticca, Managing Director of Tribal Sports Group, claimed more international and Australian players will be added to the match in the near future.
“The ‘Football for Fires’ match is harnessing the world game and its star players to draw attention to the Australian bushfire crisis and the crucial rebuilding of communities that will be required long after the fires have eventually burnt out.
“Volunteers will receive an allocation of tickets to the game and the Firefighters and SES members will fill the supporter areas at both ends of the ground and, along with thousands of football fans, will create a fantastic atmosphere at ANZ Stadium.
“As Australia says thank you, all service members and volunteers in attendance will also undertake a pre-match lap of honour. It will be a ticker-tape parade for our heroes on the frontline.”
Tickets for the match go on sale this Friday for the general public.