Football Federation Australia Monday announced the players who have agreed to play in a bushfire relief match at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium on May 23.

The match will raise funds and honor thousands of brave volunteer firefighters and State Emergency Service personnel.

All proceeds from the match will go toward the restoration and improvement of local soccer clubs and facilities in fire-affected areas nationwide. Football supporters around the world will also be able to donate to the relief, recovery and rebuild efforts in our communities through the Australian Red Cross, and local donations can be made to the NSW Rural Fire Service and NSW SES Volunteers Association.

Players from 16 countries, including some of the biggest names in Australian soccer, will line up in the #FootballForFires match on Saturday, May 23 to say “Thank you” to the men and women who have participated in the daily fight at the frontline of the Australian bushfires crisis.

The first release players included Didier Drogba, Dwight Yorke, Claudio Marchisio, Dario Simic, John Aloisi, Dwayne De Rosario, Ji-Sung Park, Simon Colosimo, Alessandro Diamanti, David Trezeguet, Alecko Eskandarian, Mark Bosnich, Con Boutsianis, Pedro Mendes, Le Cong Vinh, Emile Heskey, Michael Bridges and Geremi.

“The thoughts of the entire football family have been with the victims of these terrible bushfires over the past few weeks,” FFA Chief Executive Officer James Johnson said in a statement.

“We now we have this important opportunity to harness the power of our global sport to raise funds to assist in the re-build of our local devastated communities, and honour the brave men and women who have put their own lives at risk during this unprecedented natural disaster.

“I’d like to thank the NSW government, Football NSW and Northern NSW Football for their support of this event, and Lou Sticca and Tribal Sports Group for their work in pulling together such a great list of players.

“I urge all football fans to join us on 23 May at ANZ Stadium for what promises to be a unique and memorable event,” he added.

Venues NSW, the government agency that owns ANZ Stadium on behalf of the NSW government, is providing the venue free of charge for the #FootballForFires match.

Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for Disaster Recovery John Barilaro MP said the money from ticket sales and donations will help rebuild bushfire-affected football clubs.

“Football stars from across the globe are lining up to be part of this fantastic match to raise funds to help restore football facilities damaged by the fires,” Barilaro said. “Sport has that amazing ability to unite our regional communities in times of need and to get superstars past and present wanting to be part of this match is incredible.

“Our regional communities have been outstanding in these emergency situations over the past few months and we need to be as bold in our recovery effort as they have been in the face of disaster.”
Two teams of legendary footballers will be selected to play for the Firefighters All Stars versus SES All Stars competing for the Football For Fires Cup, with game-day kits for each team being developed by Kappa.

Lou Sticca, Managing Director of Tribal Sports Group, said more international and Australian players will be added to this list in coming days.

“The #FootballForFires match is harnessing The World Game and its star players to draw attention to the Australian bushfire crisis and the crucial rebuilding of communities that will be required long after the fires have eventually burnt out,” he said.

“Volunteers will receive an allocation of tickets to the game and the Firefighters and SES members will fill the supporter areas at both ends of the ground and, along with thousands of football fans, will create a fantastic atmosphere at ANZ Stadium.

“As Australia says thank you, all service members and volunteers in attendance will also undertake a pre-match lap of honour. It will be a ticker-tape parade for our heroes on the frontline.”

While Sydney will host the match, the event will honor and recognize all fire-fighting agencies and State Emergency Services personnel who have been involved in the bushfire crisis Australia-wide.

All proceeds from the match will go toward the restoration and improvement of local football clubs and facilities in fire-affected areas nationwide. Football supporters around the world will also be able to donate to the relief, recovery and rebuild efforts in our communities through the Australian Red Cross, and local donations can be made to the NSW Rural Fire Service and NSW SES Volunteers Association.

The players who have agreed to play:

Didier Drogba– IVORY COAST 105 Caps – Chelsea, Galatasaray, Montreal Impact

David Trezeguet – FRANCE 71 Caps – Monaco, Juventus, River Plate

Dwight Yorke – TRINIDAD & TOBAGO 74 Caps – Manchester United, Aston Villa, Sydney FC

Claudio Marchisio – ITALY 55 Caps – Juventus

Dario Simic – CROATIA 100 Caps – Inter Milan, AC Milan, Dinamo Zagreb, Monaco

John Aloisi – AUSTRALIA 55 Caps – Coventry City, Cremonese, Osasuna, Sydney FC

Dwayne De Rosario – CANADA 81 Caps – Toronto, San Jose, New York Red Bull

Ji-Sung Park – SOUTH KOREA 100 Caps- Manchester United, PSV Eindhoven

Simon Colosimo – AUSTRALIA 26 Caps – Carlton, Manchester City, Perth Glory, Sydney FC

Tore Andre Flo – NORWAY 76 Caps – Chelsea, Rangers, Sunderland, Leeds United

Alecko Eskandarian – USA 1 Cap – DC United, Toronto FC, Real Salt Lake, Chivas

Mark Bosnich – AUSTRALIA 17 Caps – Aston Villa, Manchester United, Chelsea

Con Boutsianis – AUSTRALIA 4 Caps – South Melbourne, Heidelberg, Perth Glory

Pedro Mendes – PORTUGAL 11 Caps – Porto, Tottenham Hotspur, Portsmouth, Rangers

Le Cong Vinh – VIETNAM – 83 Caps – Song Lam Nghe An, Consadole Sapporo

Emile Heskey – ENGLAND 62 Caps – Leicester City, Liverpool, Aston Villa, Newcastle Jets

Michael Bridges – ENGLAND – Sunderland, Leeds United, Newcastle Jets

Geremi – CAMEROON 118 Caps – Real Madrid, Chelsea, Middlesbrough, Newcastle United

Stephen Appiah – GHANA 67 Caps – Fenerbahce, Udinese, Juventus, Vojvodina

Rustu Recber – TURKEY 120 Caps – Fenerbahce, Barcelona, Besiktas, Antalyaspor