Superstars from the world of football are teaming up with celebrity soccer fans from stage and screen to take part in a major fundraiser for this year’s Red Nose Day on 16th March 2001.

Britain’s largest football Sponsor – Nationwide – will be supporting Comic Relief through football for the first time.

Across the UK, famous faces – from Nick Hancock and David Baddiel to Gail Porter and Steve Redgrave – will be lining up, as part of the Comic Relief Sporting Noses Squad, for a series of comic celebrity matches in February and March to help raise cash. The Comic Relief and Nationwide Football Fundays will be free and open to the public, but donations to Comic Relief will be welcome.

At the same time, Nationwide is taking to the road with The Big Red Football Tour. The ball – at 15ft x 15ft – aims to become the largest signed ball in the world. Soccer stars, comedians, dignitaries and everyone attending can sign the ball in return for a donation as it tours the country, taking in the England v Spain fixture at Villa Park on 28th February, en-route.

Dubbed the ‘Sporting Noses’, the celebrity soccer stars will play in four tournaments taking place in Glasgow, Belfast, Cardiff and London. Among them, Gail Porter, Jamie Theakston, David Baddiel and Patrick Kielty will be testing their silky skills on the pitch, watched by footballing legends from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Serious in preparation, they have enlisted Arsenal legends Liam Brady and Terry Neill as coach and manager respectively, to ensure the play is of the highest standard before they step onto the pitch.

Comedian and player, David Baddiel, said: ‘We did the Balls to Africa Tour in 1997 for Comic Relief, so we are all older now. It was fantastic in Africa and I’m sure the matches in Glasgow, Belfast, Cardiff and London will be too, as long as we don’t have to play anyone proper.’

The Football Fundays are scheduled as follows:

Sunday February 11, 11.00am:
Glasgow, Braehead Arena

Sunday February 18, 12.00noon:
Belfast, King’s Hall Exhibition and Conference Centre

Sunday February 25, 12.00noon:
Cardiff, National Indoor Athletics Centre

Sunday March 11, 12.00noon:
London, Olympia Two, Kensington

Up and down the country football clubs will be backing Comic Relief with their own fundraising antics. All proceeds go directly to Comic Relief to help tackle poverty and promote social justice in the UK and Africa.

Peter Gandolfi, head of sports marketing for Nationwide said: ‘Football fans have a great sense of humour as well as a strong sense of community. We think that helping football support Comic Relief will provide a massive fundraising opportunity for the charity as well as giving those involved with the game the chance to raise a smile while they give something back.’

For further information please contact:

Rowan Andrews
Playmaker Communications
020 7813 9000