Ukraine Charity Soccer Match Hits the Metaverse Pitch to Raise Funds


Game4Ukraine, a charity soccer match announced by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, will lean on the metaverse this weekend to help raise money for rebuilding the war-torn nation.


The real-world celebrity exhibition match kicks off Saturday, August 5 at London’s historic Stamford Bridge stadium. Those who can’t make it in person can livestream Sky Sports’ broadcast of the match in an immersive digital watch party produced by metaverse technology startup Improbable and content provider Global Fan Network.


Fans will be able to chat and ask questions to players being interviewed in the watch party via Improbable, which raised $100 million at a $3 billion valuation last fall. Improbable’s metaverse tech powers the upcoming Bored Ape Yacht Club game Otherside, and supports the use of NFT-based avatars and items in online worlds.



The watch party will include a donation link to contribute to United24, the fundraising platform launched by Zelensky amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.


Donations collected during Game4Ukraine will be used to rebuild schools destroyed during the war, starting with Mykhailo-Kotsiubynsky School in Chernihiv Oblast, which was damaged by Russian missiles in March 2022. Game4Ukraine aims to raise at least £1 million with additional fundraising initiatives planned around the match. 


The match at Stamford Bridge will be captained by Ukranian soccer legends Andriy Shevchenko (Blue Team) and Oleksandr Zinchenko (Yellow Team). Shevchenko’s team will consist of many former Chelsea and AC Milan players and coaches, while Zinchenko's squad will feature Arsenal legends including Robert Pires. Other notable players in the match include Gerard Pique, Jermain Defoe, Samuel Eto'o, and Serginho.




Fans can join the watch party via a PC or mobile phone. Global Fan Network CEO Robbie Lyle will host the watch party, provide match commentary, and interview players and other celebrity guests during the match. Fans will also be able to take part in quizzes and games in the virtual watch party while streaming the match.


“It is an honor for us to bring our technology and expertise in fan-player interaction to Game4Ukraine,” Improbable co-founder and CEO Herman Narula said in a statement. “We aim to make a meaningful contribution to the cause by granting fans around the globe the opportunity to join a show with real interaction and exclusive content.”


Improbable recently launched a virtual MLB ballpark created to host a watch party around Major League Baseball’s All-Star Celebrity Softball game in July. Fans who attended the interactive online event received a commemorative NFT ticket from Candy Digital, an MLB partner for digital collectibles.


Separate from the metaverse watch party, Game4Ukraine is also raising funds via the sale of customizable jersey NFT artwork via the match's official NFT partner, Cheeer.

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