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England's John Stones is congratulated by teammates after scoring his team's fourth goal during the group G match between England and Panama at the 2018 soccer World Cup in Nizhny Novgorod , Russia, June 24, 2018.
Matthias Schrader/AP

The England Squad Have Donated Their Match Earnings to Charity for Over a Decade

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Football transcends borders. Over half the world watched the last World Cup — and when it encourages generosity, philanthropy, and addresses inequalities, we need to talk about it. Join the movement to end extreme poverty and take action with us here.

When French forward Kylian Mbappé runs, he flies.

The 19-year-old moved like lightning to help France beat Argentina 4-3 last weekend — becoming the first teenager to score two goals in a single World Cup knockout game since Brazilian legend Pele in the 1958 final.

But that's not all he's been getting credit for. Mbappé also donates all his match fees to charity, reportedly as much as £17,000 for every game, according to French newspaper L’Equipe.

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It’s an incredible gesture. However, pundits Gary Lineker and Gary Neville were swift to point out that England’s players have been quietly doing the same for years — and it’s caught a lot of people by surprise.

The England national side has, collectively, donated 100% of their match fees to the England Footballers Foundation (EFF) since 2007, according to a statement sent to Global Citizen by the EFF. As a result, the players have raised over £5 million for the charity, which has supported a diverse range of organisations like UNICEF, Help for Heroes, and many more.

The boys have also chipped in with over 300 personal appearances at charity events, including a remarkable duet of “Hold Back the River” with hat-wielding popstar James Bay and former captain Wayne Rooney.

"In 2007 the Players’ Committee — consisting of: Gary Neville, David Beckham (then England Captain), Rio Ferdinand, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, John Terry and Jamie Carragher — established the EFF," a spokesperson told Global Citizen. "It is the vehicle through which England players donate their match fees, and also their time, to support good causes."

"The Players’ Committee (on behalf of wider squad) are always prescriptive about which causes they would like to support," the EFF added. "Everyone at the England Footballer’s Foundation would like to wish Gareth Southgate and his team the very best of luck for tonight’s match."

Its latest project is called #MooreToKnow, and it celebrates 50 years since Bobby Moore captained England to win the 1966 World Cup. The campaign will raise awareness for bowel cancer and fundraise for Cancer Research UK, helping fight the disease which led to Moore’s death in 1993 when he was 51 years old.

It’s a far cry from how certain English players are often represented in the media.

Manchester City midfielder Raheem Sterling — debatably almost as quick as Mbappé (don’t sue me) — has been criticised for years by a press obsessed with his allegedly lavish lifestyle. After he got a tattoo of an AR15 assault rifle on his leg, critics including TV personality Piers Morgan demanded punishment, and there were calls for him to be dropped.

It emerged later that the tattoo was a tribute to Sterling’s father, killed in Jamaica when he was just two years old.

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“There’s a perception in certain parts of the media that I love ‘bling’,” Sterling said in a viral interview in the Players’ Tribune last week. “All I have to tell you is that 15 years ago, we were cleaning toilets in Stonebridge and getting breakfast out of the vending machine.”

But English players giving something back to society? Several pointed out online that it rarely receives much coverage.

If France win the World Cup, Mbappé could be set to earn an extra £265,000 — and every penny will go to the Premiers de Cordée association, a nonprofit that organises sports activities for children with disabilities and campaigns on disability awareness with schools and businesses.

But that won’t happen. Instead, England will win the World Cup* — which may result in a squadload more cash being donated to charity.

Generosity? It’s coming home, lads.

*This view does not represent that of Global Citizen. But it is the view held by the author, Global Citizen’s UK staff, and the entire population of England.