Testimonial match

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A testimonial match or testimonial game, often referred to simply as a testimonial, is a practice in some sports, particularly in association football in the United Kingdom and South America, where a club has a match to honour a player for service to the club. These matches are always non-competitive. [1]

Association football team field sport

Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.

Contents

History

The practice started at a time when player compensation, even those at top professional clubs, was at a level that made it difficult to maintain it as a primary form of employment therefore retirement savings might not exist. These matches are generally well-attended and the gesture by the club can give the honoree income that enables a retirement income base or enable the honoree an opportunity to establish themselves in other employment when they finished playing. This is still the main objective of testimonials in Australia, Ireland and some other countries.

Clubs typically grant testimonials to players upon reaching ten years of service with a club, although in recent years they have been given to players for particular circumstances such as approaching retirement. Typically, the club invites (depending on the career of the honoree) current or retired teammates (typically the honoree's club and national team) to participate in the match or with the associated festivities. All proceeds from the match go to the player which depending on the applicable country laws may be tax-free. These matches have become less frequent as changes have occurred in football that make the original purpose less needed or appreciated. Wages have increased, players may not stay with a club as long as they had formerly and those top players that have the esteem of the public and in the past had financial need for such assistance make it less likely for the public support the purpose of these matches. [2] [3] However, testimonial matches for players who have given many years of service to the club (i.e. one-club men) and are popular with fans and have a higher turnout.

Testimonials in top-level football have continued to honour a player but have increasingly become charitable affairs, in which the player gives part or all of the proceeds to charitable activities. For example, longtime Sunderland and Republic of Ireland star Niall Quinn, in a "friendly" in 2002 at the Stadium of Light, donated all of the nearly-£1-million proceeds of the match to the charitable foundation he started that go to the support of children's hospitals in Tyne and Wear, Ireland, and India. [3] Another high-profile charitable testimonial was that of England rugby player Martin Johnson, held at Twickenham on 4 June 2005. This event, which featured many rugby union stars, benefited children's and cancer charities. On 4 September 2010, a crowd of 35,682 attended Jamie Carragher's testimonial match at Anfield, after fifteen years of service to Liverpool, and helped to raise more than £1 million for the defender's "23 Foundation" charity. [4]

Sunderland A.F.C. association football club

Sunderland Association Football Club is an English professional football club based in the city of Sunderland, Tyne and Wear. Sunderland play in League One, the third tier of English football. Since its formation in 1879, the club has won six top-flight titles, a total only bettered by five other clubs, and has finished runners-up five times. The club has also won the FA Cup twice and been runners-up twice, as well as winning the FA Community Shield in 1936 and being finalists the following year. Sunderland have also been Football League Cup finalists in 1985 and 2014.

Republic of Ireland national football team Mens national association football team

The Republic of Ireland national football team represents Ireland in association football. It is governed by the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) and stages its home fixtures at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

Niall Quinn Irish association football player

Niall John Quinn, is an Irish former professional footballer and businessman, and the ex-chairman of Sunderland. Quinn continued as Sunderland's director responsible for international development until he stepped down in February 2012. He played club football for English Premier League teams Arsenal, Manchester City and Sunderland during the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. Quinn also received 92 caps for the Republic of Ireland national football team, scoring 21 times, which makes him Ireland's second highest goalscorer of all time. He also appeared with the Irish team at the UEFA European Football Championship of 1988 and two FIFA World Cups in 1990 and 2002.

Similar events

In addition to many exhibition matches which have been organised to raise funds for good causes, [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] often in the style of an all-star game (such as annual Soccer Aid and Match Against Poverty events), some similar matches have been arranged to honour a particular player at the end of their career, with the proceeds going to charity – examples being Gheorghe Hagi [11] and Tomáš Rosický [12] – but these are not testimonials as they are not organised by a club.

An all-star game is an exhibition game that purports to showcase the best players of a sports league. The exhibition is between two teams organized solely for the event, usually representing the league's teams based on region or division, but sometimes dividing the players by an attribute such as nationality. Selection of the players may be done by a vote of the coaches and/or news media; in professional leagues, fans may vote on some or all of the roster. An all-star game usually occurs at the midpoint of the regular season. An exception is American football's Pro Bowl, which occurs at the end of the season.

<i>Soccer Aid</i> television series

Soccer Aid is an annual British charity event that has raised over £20 million in aid of UNICEF UK, through ticket sales and donations from the public. This event was produced and distributed by a Dutch company that distribute the Dutch Eredivisie matches, Endemol Shine Sport. The event is a friendly-style football match between two teams, England and the Soccer Aid World Eleven (WXI), composed of celebrities and former professional players representing their countries. Soccer Aid was initiated by Robbie Williams and Jonathan Wilkes.

The Match Against Poverty is a friendly football match that has taken place every year since 2003 to raise funds to support specific development projects selected by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The UNDP organized the game with the help of UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo, is supported by both FIFA and UEFA, and raises awareness and mobilizes public opinion for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that were created in 2000.

See also

A benefit is a match or season of activities granted by a sporting body to a loyal sportsman to boost their income before retirement. Often this is in the form of a match for which all the ticket proceeds are given to the player in question. However hosting one of these matches is a risk for the player in question as he/she is responsible for paying any relevant receipts and collects any excess income from the match, therefore income from such matches is more often than not reliant on attendance.

A benefit season is a method of financially rewarding professional cricketers that is used by English county cricket teams to compensate long serving players.

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References

  1. "Lucas Radebe: The original Kaiser Chief". BBC Sport. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  2. "Should testimonials be scrapped?". BBC Sport. 25 May 2001. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  3. 1 2 "Payback time for footballers?". BBC Sport. 21 January 2002. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  4. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 September 2010. Retrieved 12 December 2013.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  5. "David Beckham and son Brooklyn play together in charity match". BBC Sport. 14 November 2015. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  6. "Steven Gerrard stars as Liverpool beat Real Madrid legends in charity match". ESPN . 25 March 2017. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  7. "Diego Maradona restrained by security after clashing with Juan Sebastian Veron at Pope's charity game". The Independent . 13 October 2016. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  8. "Henrik Larsson nets hat-trick in Celtic charity match". The Scotsman . 29 May 2017. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  9. "Zidane and France 98 teammates beat Fifa 98 team containing Vieri and Bolt - in pictures". The National . 13 June 2018. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  10. "Milner and Petrov XIs draw 3-3 in Match for Cancer". Liverpool F.C. 8 September 2018. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  11. "Hagi takes an all-star bow". BBC Sport. 24 April 2001. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  12. "Arsenal legends reunite for Tomas Rosicky's testimonial". Joe. 9 June 2018. Retrieved 29 July 2018.