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Mata calls for unity in first Live Match

"We have to do everything we can to try and solve this situation"

Juan Mata is calling on the footballing world to do everything in its power to help solve the COVID-19 Pandemic, after hosting the first half of the first Common Goal Live Match.

The match – hosted on Mata’s Instagram channel –  featured fellow Common Goal members Serge Gnabry and Mats Hummels as well as Ashok Rathod from football for good organization OSCAR Foundation, Ellen Agler from The End Fund and a special guest from the British National Health Service.

The Common Goal Live Match Series will continue throughout the pandemic following the launch of Common Goal’s COVID-19 Response Fund which provides a mechanism for players, industry leaders, and any other individuals who want to an immediate impact to vulnerable communities around the world hit by Coronavirus.

“We are all living in a difficult situation right now,” said Mata. “We, as Common Goal, thought about doing something different and we came up with these Live Matches through Instagram with the objective of creating connections and bringing people together.

“It’s important to look at the whole world as well. Right now Europe is in a tough situation but I can’t help but thinking if and when this virus spreads more in countries that don’t have the same resources as we do, there will be even more devastation.

“So we have to do what’s possible to stop it. We have launched the emergency fund with Common Goal and we, as players, have to do everything we can to try and solve this situation.”

Bayern Munich star Gnabry was the first to join Mata on the Live Match, with the announcement that he would be contributing to the COVID-19 Response Fund.

He was followed by Ellen Agler, CEO of The END Fund – an organization that work primarily in Africa tackling Neglected Tropical Diseases – and she stressed the importance of ensuring those most vulnerable in our society are not left behind during this crisis.

“The most vulnerable often are the ones hit the hardest by any sort of crisis,” she said.

“We mostly work in Africa and in most communities asking people to have three weeks’ worth of food in and stay home is pretty much impossible.

“But I hope we come out of this stronger and with a real awareness on the most vulnerable and how we can work together.”

Mata was also joined by a familiar face in the shape of Ashok Rathod whom he met when he visited OSCAR Foundation in 2017.

In light of the COVID-19 Pandemic OSCAR Foundation have shifted their focus from the pitch and have been trying to raise awareness of Coronavirus and best hygiene practices in Mumbai.

“I have spent my whole life in this slum with my family and we have never witnessed these kinds of challenges before,” said Rathod.

“Keeping social distance is a big challenge in a small house where you have five or seven family members living.

“There are no toilets in the room either so people have to go outside to the public toilet. There is only one and half hours of water every day and if we are telling people to wash their hands regularly then washing hands itself is a big challenge.

“We decided to do something. We thought we would raise awareness in the public toilet so we distributed more than 2000 pamphlets and hand sanitizer as well and guidance on how to wash hands. 

“We are also distributing food and we are trying our best and I want to thank Common Goal for the support.”

Mats Hummels – who will also contribute to the Response Fund – rounded off the guests and is sure football can play a big role in helping communities around the world during this difficult time.

“We can have a lot of impact. Athetes are role models for a lot of people so if they behave in a certain way then it helps and can help spread positive messages.

“And, of course, money also helps because money can always help in these situations and we are in a privileged position to be able to help in that way.

“Football players want to help. We want to help to improve the world and the lives of people who aren’t as fortunate as we are.”

The Common Goal Live Match Series continues on Thursday April 16 with Mata hosting the second half in Spanish with a host of new guests.