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Mark Wright’s Soccer Aid controversy after he ‘upset’ ITV bosses with decision

Mark Wright is set to play in Soccer Aid’s charity soccer game this Sunday – but the reality TV star was missed when the lineup was originally announced

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Mark Wright gives a tour of a £3.5million dream home in Essex

Mark Wright may be known for appearing on the likes of TOWIE and I’m A Celeb – but he’s also pretty good on the soccer field.

The 35-year-old was at West Ham and Tottenham Hostpur academies, played for Southend United and briefly signed for Crawley Town last season.

Mark, who has been confirmed for the upcoming Soccer Aid benefit soccer game, initially faced controversy ahead of the announcement.

The reality TV star was missed at the ‘full cast’ announcement – and his absence was notable having appeared at the charity game in previous years.

The first reveal listed Harry Redknapp as manager of the England squad, with the captain as former One Directions star Liam Payne topping the star-studded list of celebs.

Mark played in the Soccer Aid charity competition in 2021
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(Getty Images)

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Rumors initially speculated he was “banned” from attending after reportedly angering ITV bosses.

This comes after Mark allegedly dropped out of reality sports game show The Games at the last minute via text message.

A source told The Sun at the time: “Mark’s name is Mud on ITV at the moment. Bookers working on shows will not approach Mark to appear.

“The only show where they’re excited about him is Soccer Aid as he’s one person in a sea of ​​faces and has been a part of the event for years.”

Mark denied the rumours
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(Getty Images)

However, Mark denied leaving the show via text message, claiming he has projects in the pipeline with ITV.

He wrote on social media: “I have refrained from commenting on this nonsense story for over a week because it is nonsense and there are many much more important stories in the world to worry about.

“Because it keeps repeating, here’s my comment. I’m not banned from ITV at all, in fact I’m doing a show for ITV in three months.

“The show that ‘I quit’ hadn’t even signed a deal yet!

“I ‘called’ the producer and didn’t text her to say I had a change of heart on the show because I realized I already had too many other commitments to make it work.

“The media that wrote this is not to blame. You can only believe what the person who dreamed it up tells you.”

In April he announced that he would be attending this year’s benefit game.

He said: “I’m delighted to be returning to Soccer Aid for UNICEF this year!

“Getting another chance to play alongside football legends and playing at the London Stadium is a childhood dream come true.

“Tickets are still available on the Soccer Aid website, please come and see me on Sunday 12th June – it’s a game you won’t want to miss!”

Mark will support UNICEF with Football Aid 2022
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©UNICEF/Soccer Aid Productions/Stella Pictures)

This Sunday he will reveal his expertise in sports
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Mike Marsland/WireImage)

The reality TV star is no stranger to revealing his expertise on the pitch after starring in last year’s charity fight.

Mark has increased his professionalism in sports over the years, playing professionally on TV screens prior to his glamorous celebrity life.

Before joining TOWIE, Mark was a semi-professional footballer with a youth career at West Ham United, Arsenal and even Tottenham Hotspur.

Having started his senior career with Southend United, he soon moved into nightclub promotion where football inevitably took a back seat and was only played semi-professionally.

He returned to professional football in December 2020 where he signed for Crawley Town from the second division without a contract.

However, his aspirations to establish himself as a professional footballer were all but over when Crawley Town confirmed they would release the star at the end of the 2020/21 season.

The ex-professional soccer player will once again demonstrate his expertise in the short at this Sunday’s Soccer Aid charity soccer game for UNICEF.

Liam Payne is this year’s captain
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(Getty Images)

Kem Cetinay is also playing this year
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David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock)

He will be joined by famous faces on this special day including former Love Island winner Kem Cetinay and Emily in Paris star Lucien Laviscount.

Soccer Aid was originally founded in 2006 by chart-topping Robbie Williams, who wanted to do his part to raise funds for UNICEF – a United Nations agency that provides humanitarian and development aid to children around the world.

Once a year, a team of celebrities representing England join a ‘World XI’ team of well-known names for an epic football match televised live.

Since its first game, the event has raised more than £60m for the charity and last year’s event, held at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium, raised a record-breaking £13m.

This year the game will take place at the London Stadium in Stratford and will be broadcast live on ITV, STV and the ITV Hub.

Soccer Aid takes place on Sunday 12 June – the event starts at 19:30.

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