Sir Bobby Charlton urges footballing community to help support emergency Covid-19 appeal


Sporting legend Sir Bobby Charlton may be best known for his prowess on the football pitch, not least helping to lead England to victory in the 1966 FIFA World Cup. Less known, though, is Sir Bobby’s admirable humanitarian work in the developing world through his charity, The Sir Bobby Charlton Foundation (SBCF). The not-for-profit organisation was established following a trip made by Sir Bobby to Cambodia, where he witnessed first-hand the devastating impact that landmines and the legacy of forgotten war were still having on innocent civilian communities. The charity has since evolved to create a network of conflict recovery centres in a number of war-torn countries, delivering a holistic programme of physical and psychological rehabilitation to conflict affected communities.

This week sees the launch of a Covid-19 Emergency Fund Appeal by The Sir Bobby Charlton Foundation to help support these same countries which are being disproportionately disadvantaged by the current global pandemic.

Sir Bobby explained: “This is a time of great uncertainty and anxiety for us all, threatening our families and the communities on our own doorstep. However, we also have grave concerns about the impact on developing countries.’

We are seeing in many countries around the world that the poor are being disproportionately harmed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Via its established network of global partnerships, The Sir Bobby Charlton Foundation feels a responsibility not only to maintain the vital services it already offers, but to go much further by putting emergency relief in place to play its part in the battle against Coronavirus.

Through existing funding partnerships with local NGOs, the Foundation has already started providing much-needed support in countries like Cambodia, Jordan and Iraq, prioritising the delivery of:

Ventilators – A shortage of ventilators in developing countries has already been identified as a significant risk which is likely to exacerbate the crisis in the poorest parts of the world. The Foundation has been working with one of their research & engineering partners to produce an improvised, low cost ventilator which can be easily replicated and in service in a matter of weeks.

Emergency Food Parcels – In extreme poverty people have to choose between staying indoors to prevent the spread of the virus and going to work to keep their families fed. Not going out often equals not eating. Providing emergency food parcels to the most vulnerable people and families who are isolating will enable more people to comply with restricted movement requirements.

Emergency Hygiene Protection Kits – The content of the kits include facemasks, protective gloves, wet wipes, soap and sanitiser. The kits are designed to keep families well and slow the transmission of the virus in communities with underdeveloped sanitation provision.

The Foundation is also disseminating safe behaviour and hygiene information in communities where awareness of the pandemic may still be limited.

Lou McGrath OBE, Chief Executive of The Sir Bobby Charlton Foundation commented:

‘Over 84,000 vulnerable people will be reached by our hygiene and safe behaviour messaging, 37,000 will receive hygiene protection kits, 6,500 will get emergency food parcels and 1,220 Covid-19 doctors, nurses & patients will benefit from new PPE and medical equipment.

‘The initial target for the appeal is £130,000 and we are urging the general public, the business community and the world of sport in particular to come together with Sir Bobby and help in the fight against the Covid-19 virus in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.’

A dedicated fundraising page has been set up to for the emergency appeal, and donors will all receive a download of the campaign’s rainbow image, signed by Sir Bobby himself.

The rainbow has been painted by a child at The Sir Bobby Charlton Rehabilitation Centre in Amman, Jordan as a thank you to Sir Bobby for all the support he has given to refugees who have fled conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. The rainbow is made up of all the colours of all the clubs which Sir Bobby played for in his footballing career, and is a testament to the outstanding humanitarian work which will now live on alongside his great sporting legacy.

For more information about the SBCF appeal visit:

To donate, visit:

To view a video featuring an interview between journalist Stuart Hughes and SBCF CEO, Lou McGrath, please visit:


Notes to Editors

For more information on the Foundation or any of the projects listed above, or to interview CEO, Lou McGrath OBE, please contact Tessa Blakemore on 07919 177243 or


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