Leading soccer figures raise more than $44 million in a single day for Turkey’s quake fundraising campaign

Rival managers and leading figures from the world of soccer have helped raise 845.7 million Turkish liras ($44.8 million) in a single day for the victims of last month’s devastating earthquake that hit 12 provinces and killed more than 44,000 people in Turkey, according to Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency.

Earthquake in Turkey. The fundraising telethon was aired live on Turkish television by the national broadcasters TRT Sport, A Sports, SportsTV, D Smart Sports, S Sport, Tivibu Sports, TV8 and Club televisions, TRT Radio, Radio Gol, Radyospor, League Radyo, as well as many digital media channels.

Famous soccer players and managers – such as Kylian Mbappé, Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola, Ruud Gullit, Mikel Arteta, and Arsène Wenger – joined the televised fundraiser called the “shoulder-to-shoulder” fundraising campaign, which is set to run until June 15.

European Club Association (ECA) and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi also donated $2.6 million (50 million Turkish liras) to the campaign, Anadolu and Turkey’s state broadcaster TRT Haber reported.

Turkey’s Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Turkish Football Federation (TFF), the Super Lig Clubs Association Foundation and beIN Media Group organized the campaign to meet the needs of citizens affected by earthquakes, Anadolu reported.

More than 48,000 people have died across Turkey and Syria since the 7.8-magnitude earthquake on February 6. Meanwhile, almost 900,000 people are living in tents and containers in Turkey following the disaster and subsequent tremors, according to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Other athletes lending a hand

The event was not the only fundraising project involving soccer players. Last week, Turkish soccer player Merih Demiral auctioned off jerseys and kits of superstar players like Cristiano Ronaldo as well as World Cup winners Lionel Messi and Gigi Buffon to support survivors of the deadly quake.

The 24-year-old Demiral told CNN Sport’s Patrick Snell that he “should do something more” than just donate money himself.

“I called my friend Cristiano, I spoke with him and he said he was really sad also,” he said, adding that the Portuguese star is a “really special guy.”

“I was writing to him, I was explaining to him what happened in Turkey, and he said he was also sad.”

Merih Demiral: Turkish footballer teams up with Ronaldo, Messi and Mbappé for earthquake fundraiser

With Ronaldo’s permission, Demiral decided to sell a signed shirt that the soccer star had given him as a gift two years before, while Ronaldo arranged for an additional shirt from his latest club, Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr, to be sent and sold.

Efforts to retrieve survivors have been hampered by a cold winter spell across quake-stricken regions, while authorities grapple with the logistical challenges of transporting aid into northwestern Syria amid an acute humanitarian crisis compounded by years of war.

Major aftershocks have continued to affect the region: a magnitude 6.3 aftershock struck Turkey’s southern Hatay province, near the Syrian border, on Monday, and 90 aftershocks followed, the largest of which was recorded at 5.8.

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