SAFC to celebrate Nelson Mandela Day

Commemorative matchday planned at the SoL.

Sunderland AFC is to celebrate its recent collaboration with the Nelson Mandela Foundation by designating its forthcoming game against Manchester United at the Stadium of Light ‘Nelson Mandela Day’. 

Sunderland’s players will sport one-off t-shirts for the pre-game warm up, bearing the foundation’s logo and a special ‘text to donate’ message in support of the foundation. Both teams will take to the field through a guard of honour of youngsters also sporting Nelson Mandela Foundation t-shirts, along with eleven specially chosen mascots. A flag bearing the foundations’ logo will also be displayed pitchside. 

We are hugely proud of our association with the Nelson Mandela Foundation and this game provides us with a tremendous global platform to launch our partnership.

- Mike Farnan, International Marketing Director

African musicians, the Abatimbo Drummers of Burundi, will entertain fans before the game and again at half-time showcasing the unique musical sound of Africa.

Across the next 18 months, Sunderland AFC will support a number of fundraising initiatives on behalf of the Foundation, including a Gala dinner, planned for later this year. ‘Nelson Mandela Day’ will see the launch of a special text number which allows fans to pledge their support by donating £2 to the foundation. Fans can simply text SAFC67 £2 to 70070 to make their donation.

The players’ shirts, as worn during the game, will be auctioned online via the club’s official website,, to kick off the fundraising, with all monies raised going to help the foundation continue its work.

Launched earlier this month, the unique partnership between the club and the foundation, a first in world football, aims to help to promote the former South African President’s legacy, through the global reach of the Barclays Premier League. Sunderland AFC will be a Legacy Advocate for the Nelson Mandela Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation established in 1999 to support the former South African Presidents’ ongoing engagement in promoting his legacy of social justice outside the purely political arena following his retirement.

At the same time Sunderland AFC hopes to utilise the organisations’ knowledge and expertise to continue to raise greater awareness of social issues, such as inclusion and diversity and support football’s quest to eradicate racism from within the game.

Sunderland AFC’s marketing director Mike Farnan said: “We are hugely proud of our association with the Nelson Mandela Foundation and this game provides us with a tremendous global platform to launch our partnership.

“When we welcomed representatives from the Nelson Mandela Foundation to Sunderland they were delighted with the work we do with the Foundation of Light and clearly felt there was a great deal of synergy in what we are all seeking to achieve. By becoming a Legacy Advocate of the Nelson Mandela Foundation we hope to accomplish even more for a common good.”

Sunderland AFC began its off the field relationship with the African continent in 2011 forging a partnership with the Invest In Africa initiative to promote awareness of the opportunities of doing business in Africa. Linking with Invest in Africa has also helped Sunderland AFC to grow its fanbase and global presence, particularly in Africa, where nearly 1.2 billion people watch Premier League matches.

The club’s own registered charity, Foundation of Light, is widely recognised as the blue print for community programmes across British football. It uses the power of football to involve, educate and inspire more than 42,000 young people and their families across the North East of England each year, through a broad range of innovative and award-winning programmes aimed at changing and enhancing lives.