Belfast Telegraph

Juan Mata's charity fund gains 12 star backers but aims for game-wide support

A dozen internationals have joined Juan Mata's Common Goal project by pledging one per cent of their wages to charity and the Spaniard wants the entire football industry to follow suit.

The Manchester United fielder launched the idea last month, having been inspired to use his fame and wealth to help the under-privileged during a charity visit to India this summer.

The Common Goal fund is run by the Berlin-based organisation streetfootballworld, which invests in more than 120 football-based charities in 80 countries.

Two weeks after Mata revealed his plan he was contacted by Bayern Munich and Germany defender Mats Hummels, asking him how he could get involved.

Eleven other players have subsequently signed up, seven men and four women, and two of them will be named next week, with the other names coming out in due course.

Speaking to reporters at the Soccerex Global Convention in Manchester, Mata said at least one of these is a United team-mate and will be revealed soon.

"We're not trying to change football but hopefully help as many people as we can through football, which makes sense because football is a big force for unity and good in the world," he explained.

"Nothing else can help like football can. Hopefully we can do something big and bring a lot of players and people who are involved in football on board.

"We are having promising conversations with people who make decisions in football and we are going to try to reach every single footballer out there.

"I think it will be even bigger in a few weeks and months and we are really happy about what the future can bring.

"It's not about how much, it's about bringing it all together. My one per cent can't help a lot but add another one per cent and another and another and we can help much more - that's what we're trying to do."

Mata, a key factor in United's superb start to the season, said players with their own charitable foundations could join the scheme, as can associations, broadcasters, leagues and anybody else linked to the game.

The 29-year-old, now in his fifth season at Old Trafford, said he was also confident that United manager Jose Mourinho would be joining soon.

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