Celebrity football game Soccer Aid is reportedly moving from Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge to a new home at West Ham’s London Stadium after stars threatened to withdraw
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Soccer Aid was reportedly forced to relocate after Stars threatened to pull out if it was held in Chelsea.
The celebrity football match has historically been played at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge and sees a host of big stars come together for a football game to raise money for charity.
But this year some big names threatened to pull out if it was held at Chelsea FC’s home amid protests over owner Roman Abramovich’s ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin amid the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
A source tells the post : “It was supposed to be played at Chelsea. That was the plan, but then the war happened.
“Some key players have made their feelings clear that they don’t want a stake in Chelsea as a protest. There were some very angry people. It was like they weren’t there if it happened there.”
“Of course there are now sanctions which mean Chelsea cannot do business so the event could not go ahead there. Because of this, it would be impossible.”
The charity match, which will be broadcast on ITV, was hosted by soccer star Alex Scott and presenter Dermot O’Leary last year.
Former England stars such as David Beckham, Wayne Rooney, Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher often attend, as well as celebrities such as Paddy McGuinness, Rod Stewart, Robbie Williams and Olly Murs.
At last year’s event, teams were coached by Harry Redknapp and Sven Goran Eriksson and four million people tuned in to cheer on the teams and help raise £13m for charity Unicef UK.
Government sanctions were also imposed on Premier League club Chelsea following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, meaning the stadium would be extremely difficult to use anyway.
Soccer Aid – started in 2006 by Robbie Williams and his pal Jonathan Wilkes – was last played at Chelsea in 2019. It moved to Manchester United’s Old Trafford in 2020 and Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium last year.
An announcement on where the event will be held this year is expected to be made later this week when tickets go on sale.
Last week, Abramovich was officially sanctioned by the EU for the oligarch’s “long and close ties” to Putin.
The Mirror has reached out to Chelsea FC officials for comment.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/soccer-aid-forced-abandon-chelsea-26511638 Soccer Aid 'forced to leave Chelsea Stadium over owner's ties to Vladimir Putin'