Chelsea’s hosting of Soccer Aid 2019 at Stamford Bridge has won two prizes at this year’s Sports Business Awards.
The annual charity match raising money for UNICEF, featuring a mixture of celebrities and football legends, was played at the Bridge for the first time in 2019.
It was also the first Soccer Aid game to include female players in the squads, including ex-Chelsea Women captain Katie Chapman, along with fellow former Blues Didier Drogba, John Terry, Michael Essien, Joe Cole, Ricardo Carvalho and Glen Johnson.
However, it was the work done off the pitch which was honoured at the Sports Business Awards, with Chelsea’s events, operations and marketing teams taking the top Gold award in the Best Operations Team category, as well as Bronze for Best Non-Matchday Use of Venue.
Those awards were earned for Chelsea’s efforts hosting and promoting the Soccer Aid 2019 game itself, as well as the training events in the build-up to matchday. The judges – who picked Chelsea ahead of stiff competition from the likes of Cheltenham Racecourse, the Solheim Cup and the World Darts Championship – reserved particular praise for the superb organisation of the event and the promotion of UNICEF’s good cause.
The 2019 match was described as the most successful Soccer Aid yet after raising more than £7.5 million for the international children’s charity, despite the lower attendance capacity at Stamford Bridge compared to previous venues Old Trafford and Wembley Stadium, as well as being the most viewed fundraising event ever broadcast on ITV.