Channel 4 star Ant Middleton has been given the boot by Soccer Aid 2020 amid fears that his involvement would offend ethnic minority players.
It comes after The Mail on Sunday revealed that Royal Navy bosses planned to sack the SAS: Who Dares Wins instructor from their cadet corps because he shared criticisms of rioting Black Lives Matter protesters on social media.
The popular televised charity football match, which has raised £38 million for children’s charity Unicef since being founded by singer Robbie Williams in 2006, is due to be broadcast live next month.
Channel 4 star Ant Middleton has been given the boot by Soccer Aid 2020 amid fears that his involvement would offend ethnic minority players
Among those expected to play in the England vs Soccer Aid World XI match are several black participants including Usain Bolt and former Manchester United defender Patrick Evra.
It is unclear whether organisers kicked out Middleton at the request of other players or to protect the image of the match, which attracts significant corporate sponsorship and support from the Government.
Middleton was a second-half substitute in last year’s fixture and had been expected to start the match at Old Trafford this year. He has also been promoting the fixture, appearing in ads wearing his England kit.
Following the MoS report last week about plans to remove Middleton from his role as the Volunteer Cadet Corps’ chief cadet, Royal Navy top brass have been accused of denying him the right to free speech.
Such was the force of the backlash, military commanders may even be forced to ask him to continue in his honorary role – after previously concluding he did not promote the right values to represent the VCC.
Senior officers targeted Middleton after he retweeted a message on Twitter describing rioting BLM protesters as ‘scum’.
He later apologised and explained that while he supported the anti-racism movement he felt he had to condemn the violent scenes in London in June.
A spokesman for Middleton confirmed he would no longer be taking part in the Soccer Aid event. In a recent media interview, he had said he was training hard to get match fit. Soccer Aid said the line-up for the England team ‘has not yet been confirmed’.
The Ministry of Defence has said the issue between him and the VCC is a ‘private matter’.