Manchester United great Eric Cantona joins Juan Mata's Common Goal charity

Mark Critchley

Eric Cantona has joined up with Juan Mata’s Common Goal charity, which asks the football industry to donate one per cent of their income to good causes.

The Manchester United great will take on a mentoring role with the initiative, in the hope of inspiring more players, officials and clubs to sign up.

Cantona is the first high-profile former footballer to join forces with Common Goal. Mata, Juventus’ Giorgio Chiellini and Bayern Munich’s Mats Hummels are among current players to pledge one per cent of their salaries.

“Poor neighbourhoods need football as much as football needs poor neighbourhoods,” Cantona said, announcing his involvement in an interview with The Players’ Tribune.

“We need to support a more sustainable, positive and inclusive football, and I will do anything that I can to help. That is why I am joining the Common Goal movement as their first mentor.

“Common Goal’s mission is to unlock 1 per cent of the entire football industry’s revenues for grassroots football charities, and more than 60 footballers have already pledged 1 per cent of their salaries.

“The beautiful thing is that they are players from big clubs, players from small clubs, men and women, from leagues all over the world.

“Football needs to be for the people. Common Goal does not have to be a utopian idea. There is no reason why the major actors in the game today cannot come together and support the social aspect of football.”

Cantona added: “Please, allow me to ask this same simple question to those who run the global game – the footballers, the agents, the sponsors and the committees.

“What is football if it is not about freedom? What is life if it is not about freedom? What is the meaning of life? I think we can all agree that we can do more for humanity?

Jurgen Griesbeck, Common Goal’s chief executive, said: “Welcoming Eric on board and creating the new role of Common Goal mentor is another unique moment for all of us.

“We believe that position of mentor not only allows true legends of the game to harness their voices for the good of all, but also gives them the opportunity of creating a lasting legacy far beyond the incredible achievements of their playing career.

“We could think of few people better-suited to become the first Common Goal mentor than Eric Cantona.”

Common Goal was launched last year by Mata in conjunction with non-governmental organisation Streetfootballworld, raising approximately $800,000 (£605,000) for good causes since.