Soccer Aid: Why is Mark Wright not playing in the Unicef match this year?

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Former The Only Way Is Essex star Mark Wright will not compete in this year’s Soccer Aid charity match for Unicef.

Each year, football legends, reality stars, actors and musicians team up for charity match Soccer Aid in a bid to raise money for Unicef. Soccer Aid 2023 will take place today (June 11) at Old Trafford Stadium in Manchester.

The charity match, which sees England take on the Rest of the World, has raised almost £40million for UNICEF over the last 17 years and the event was founded by pop star Robbie Williams.

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However, there will be one star who will miss out on this year’s Soccer Aid. Mark Wright has competed in the past six charity matches and will miss out on competing in this year’s Soccer Aid.

The former Towie star often competed in the left-wing position and before he became a reality tv star, he played for a number of lower league clubs. Mark was also offered a short-term deal by Crawley in 2020 where he made his professional debut.

But why will Mark Wright not compete in this year’s Soccer Aid and which stars are lined up for the charity match? Here’s everything you need to know.

Why is Mark Wright not at Soccer Aid 2023?

Mark Wright (right) will not compete in this year’s Soccer AidMark Wright (right) will not compete in this year’s Soccer Aid
Mark Wright (right) will not compete in this year’s Soccer Aid | Getty Images

The TV star will not compete in the Old Trafford match this year as he already has filming commitments for a number of on-screen projects. According to The Mirror, Mark said in February: "On a personal level I’ve decided not to do Soccer Aid this year. I have done it for six years in a row now and I love it, I love the charity and would love to be involved and still raise money for Unicef.

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"If I’m around I’ll maybe still watch the game, but I just need to keep myself free around that time. I need to let someone else have a go and maybe I’ll come back next year but for now I’m going to have a year out."

Soccer Aid 2023 line-up


  • Jill Scott (c)
  • Paddy McGuinness
  • Liam Payne
  • Jermain Defoe
  • Karen Carney
  • Tom Grennan
  • Gary Cahill
  • Jack Wilshere
  • Bugzy Malone
  • Sir Mo Farah
  • Alex Brooker
  • Gary Neville
  • Paul Scholes
  • Chunkz
  • Joel Corry
  • Eni Aluko
  • David James
  • Scarlette Douglas
  • Nicky Butt
  • Danny Dyer
  • Asa Butterfield
  • Tom Hiddleston


  • Stormzy
  • Emma Hayes
  • Vicky McClure
  • Harry Redknapp
  • David Seaman

Soccer Aid World XI FC

  • Usain Bolt (c)
  • Lee Mack
  • Steven Bartlett
  • Kem Cetinay
  • Mo Gilligan
  • Maisie Adam
  • Tommy Fury
  • Heather O’Reilly
  • Kalyn Kyle
  • Noah Beck
  • Ben Foster
  • Roberto Carlos
  • Nani
  • Francesco Totti
  • Gabriel Batistuta
  • Leon Edwards
  • Sam Claflin
  • Hernan Crespo
  • Patrice Evra
  • Niko


  • Mauricio Pochettino
  • Robbie Keane
  • Martin Compston
  • Mel C
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