Wednesday, March 4, 2009
The English international squad are to honour the British servicemen and women that were involved in the Middle-Eastern conflicts as of late.
English football stars such as David Beckham, Frank Lampard and Wayne Rooney will join the rest of their international team-mates to show their support for the Armed Forces before their friendly fixture with Slovakia on March 20.
England boss Fabio Capello approved the idea of letting 30 rehabilitating members of the military watch the international squad train at London Colney before heading to the Grove Hotel to enjoy lunch with the players.
This all comes in the wake of Rugby Union's efforts to raise funds for military personnel injured in the line of duty.
Premier League board staff are also eager to back the troops, showing their gratitude by funding an inter-services football tournament in Basra.
"We are liaising with a platoon currently based in Basra about funding a charity football tournament they are playing with teams comprising soldiers from UK battalions, US forces and local Iraqi soldiers," announced a Premier League spokesman.
"We have actually sent out shirts from all 20 Premier League teams – and a signed Michael Carrick Manchester United shirt – for the teams in this charity tournament to wear. The battalion we have been working with have looked to get the UK and US troops to donate money to play in the tournament, with the proceeds going to a soldier rehabilitation charity that they work very closely with.
"It should be a fantastic tournament – imagine the pictures of the UK, US and Iraqi players from all of these different backgrounds coming together to play in Basra, all wearing Premier League kit."
Quick to follow in the footsteps of other major football bodies, the FA also announced their invitation of yet another thirty services personnel to the England vs Slovakia friendly.
At the heart of the initiatives, Wembley itself will also be host to members of the Armed Forces when the Football League play-offs take place in May.
Stephen Crawford, Goal.com