Dwight Yorke will join a host of former stars including Didier Drogba and Park Ji-sung who have volunteered to play in the special Football For Fires match in Sydney in May.
The first release of players features former international stars including David Trezeguet, Claudio Marchisio, Dario Simic, Mark Bosnich, Emile Heskey, Pedro Mendes and Geremi, all of whom will play without fee.
The announcement was made on Tuesday at ANZ Stadium, where the match will be held on May 23 with hopes to raise upwards of $Aus1 million.
The match will feature some of the biggest names in Australian football and give fans a chance to say goodbye to retired Socceroos captain Mark Milligan, while more names are set to be announced in the coming days.
It’s hoped the calibre of talent and their international influence will bring more attention and eyes to the game, which in turn will equal more dollars donated to the cause.
Chelsea legend Drogba in particular has a global reach on social media with 8.5 million followers on Instagram alone, while Le Cong Vinh is known as the ‘Vietnamese David Beckham’.
“We’re talking to TV partners about domestic telecast but we’ve had significant interest from overseas networks that want to take the game to audiences around the world,” said Lou Sticca, managing director of Tribal Sports Group and organiser of the exhibition match.
“We’ve been very strategic; we’ve got 16 nations represented in the 20 names. There’s a method to the madness, in that we want those communities to feel a part of it so I think this game will have a lot of attraction and a lot of eyeballs from around the world.”
The two teams will be selected to play for the Firefighters All Stars vs. SES All Stars competing for the Football For Fires Cup.
All proceeds from the match will go toward the restoration and improvement of local football clubs and facilities in fire-affected areas nationwide.
Football Federation Australia has nominated a working group focused on the bushfires to focus on the distribution of funds to ensure they land where they are needed and how to best help build morale in local areas.
“The football family has been heartbroken by these bushfires and the great thing about our code is it’s ability to bring people together and it’s ability to have a deep sense of community,” FFA chief executive James Johnson said.
“Our code is at it’s best when it’s able to unify and connect and bring people together.”
The NSW Government will provide the use of ANZ Stadium without cost, and will donate the profits from all food and beverages sold on the night to the fundraising effort.
More than 40,000 tickets went on sale last Thursday, while a large number of tickets will be reserved for volunteers without cost as a thank you for their fire-fighting efforts over the summer.