(Reuters) – A hundred players and managers have signed up for Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata’s Common Goal cause, with Australia women’s players Aivi Luik and Alex Chidiac the latest to join the movement.
Common Goal, which asks members to pledge 1% of their income to a central fund that is then channelled towards various charitable causes, was launched by Mata in 2017 and has collected $1.4 million in donations so far.
High-profile players such as Germany’s Mats Hummels and Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini have joined the movement and Mata is especially pleased that the two latest additions mean an equal number of men and women have now signed up.
“When I became the first player to make the Common Goal pledge 20 months ago I hoped this would spread through the player community,” the Spaniard told reporters.
“I’m especially happy as Aivi and Alex are the 99th and 100th players to join this incredible team and we have now reached a complete gender balance between female and male members in Common Goal.
“To welcome our first two Australian women to the team is a great pleasure and shows the global reach of this sport.”
Apart from Luik and Chidiac, the list of women’s signatories include members of the Canadian national team and Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan of the United States, who were the first women players to pledge their support.
“We’re in a really blessed situation as footballers and we have the privilege of earning a good income,” Luik said. “At 1% I feel like almost anyone can give that because there are a lot of other people in greater need than ourselves.”
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Jennings)