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The one per cent club

The one per cent club


Common Goal tries to get footballers to donate 1% of their salary to good causes. It’s starting to work, but it’s working better among relatively low-paid women footballers than among the highly-paid men.


Hi, I’m Chloe and this is the Playmaker. 

One story every day to make sense of the world of football. 

Today… football’s common goal. 


It seems like a long time ago now, but cast your mind back to the very beginning of the pandemic. 

Matt Hancock was the Health Secretary for England. On a day when there were 529 Covid deaths – taking the total number to 2,921 – Hancock used an official government briefing to highlight what he thought Premier League footballers should be doing. 

“I think that everyone needs to play their part in this national effort, and that means Premier League footballers too. Given the sacrifices that many people are making, including some of my colleagues in the NHS, who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice of going into work and have caught the disease and sadly died, I think the last thing…er the first thing that Premier League footballers can do is make a contribution, take a pay cut and play their part.”

The Guardian

We’ve all heard people talk about “overpaid footballers.” 

And what we heard there was a prominent politician applying moral pressure on rich footballers.

Well, you can see how it adds up if footballers were to take a pay cut or give away some of their salary.  With some earning three hundred thousand pounds per week, donating just one percent of their income tots up up to a tidy sum.

And that’s exactly what some players are doing.

Vivianne Miedema is one of the best female footballers in the world. 

She and her partner Lisa Evans – also a Women’s Super League footballer – have just pledged one percent of their salaries to an organisation called Common Goal. 

“Hey everyone, we are extremely happy and proud to announce that we’ve become part of the common goal movement.”

“Yes, so that means that we will be pledging one percent of our salary, which seems like a small commitment, but it’s going to go a long long way to help people that are less fortunate than we are.”

“And that basically means that we can use the power of football for the greater good.” 

Common Goal

So, what exactly is Common Goal?

It was launched in 2017 by Juan Mata of Manchester United, and his aim was to inspire others in football to donate 1 percent of their salary, just as he had. 

“But that’s the beauty of football isn’t it, that you are… when you’re playing we are with you and you’re living out our dreams, do you know what I mean? But it’s so lovely that you’re kind of paying back to society to try and you know, fix social problems.”

“Well I realise I live a dream, you know and when I was a kid and my Dad was a professional footballer I wanted to be like him and I wanted to be a footballer also. And that’s why we’re trying to give something back to, to everyone and through football, which I think has the power to unite people like nothing else in the world.” 

Russell Howard

And Mata did inspire others to join in. Players and Coaches – Jurgen Klopp, Giorgio Chiellini, Casey Stoney, Kasper Schmeichel to name just a few – have since taken the one per cent pledge. 

The money collected by Common Goal is distributed by the non-governmental organisation streetfootballworld.  It channels the funds to communities trying to change the lives of young people.

In four years, Common Goal has raised more than three million euros, supporting projects that address inequalities through a common love – football. 

Vivianne and Lisa are just the latest to sign up. 

But they think that it’s about much more than the one percent. 

“It’s not about the money, I think. It’s more about who you are and how you want to help people like obviously the like picking a project you want to be involved with doesn’t mean you just donate the money to it. It means that hopefully in the future we will be either be able to travel there to connect with the kids, to be part of it all and I think erm as much as obviously money is needed to change things, I think the emotional connection will be as important and I think especially that is something we will be looking to grow and to move into.” 

Sky Sports

An average professional women’s footballer can expect to earn about 35 thousand pounds per year. So nowhere near as much as the men. 

But still, 45 per cent of those signed up to Common Goal are female footballers. Vivianne’s partner Lisa heard about it through her team-mates in the Scotland squad.

When high-profile footballers like Vivianne Miedema and Juan Mata sign up, others will surely follow. 

We started off with Matt Hancock demanding Premier League footballers shell out. But it transpired that some footballers – with a little encouragement – didn’t need to be told.  Perhaps the carrot is mightier than the stick.

Today’s episode was written by Chloe Beresford, and produced by Studio Klong.