‘A non-starter’: Rashford blasts claims he ‘benefitted commercially’ from charity campaigning ahead of supposed Spectator report

Manchester United and England football star Marcus Rashford has come out to defend his off-the-field partnerships ahead of the proposed publication of claims he has profited from his campaigning for underprivileged UK kids.

Recently racially abused online after missing one of the penalties in the shootout that handed Italy the Euro 2020 title, the 23-year-old has raised millions of pounds for child food poverty causes in the UK.

At the height of the pandemic, Rashford took the ruling Conservative government to task, making sure that free meals were provided to struggling families during the school holidays after a U-turn from Prime Minister Boris Johnson also convinced ministers to provide around £170 million ($230 million) in funding.

But ahead of a purported article in The Spectator which will supposedly shine a light on Rashford’s commercial activities (but is yet to be published), the Mancunian took to Twitter to stave off any claims which could be made against him. 

“Just heard [The Spectator] are planning to run a story on me tomorrow about how I have benefitted commercially in the last 18 months,” Rashford began.

“To clarify, I don’t need to partner with brands. I partner because I want to progress the work I do off the pitch and most of any fee I would receive contributes to that.”

Reminding people that last summer 1.3 million children “had access to food support” due to his efforts, while a partnership with a famous fashion house gave kids a “safe place to be after school where they will be fed”, he added further information about incentives that have provided refuge for the upcoming holidays, and another that has provided 80,000 youngsters with books.

“Do I have a larger commercial appeal following the u-turns? I’m sure,” Rashford conceded.

“But I’m also a Manchester United and England international footballer,” he pointed out.

“Why has there always got to be a motive? Why can’t we just do the right thing?” he begged, before admitting he was actually an occasional reader of The Spectator but that their exposé was a “non-starter.” 

Others were less kind to the weekly magazine, calling it a “disgrace to the name of journalism”.

“If they’re criticizing you, the chances are that you’re doing the right thing. Not that there’s any doubt about it: you are, and I admire you for it,” one supporter, the author Philip Pullman added.

“Anyone who has an inkling of decency stands with Marcus Rashford, who is a bigger role model, leader and genuine human than anyone at that publication or politicians who run this country.”

“Well done Marcus, we’re with you,” said another fan.

“It’s simple Marcus: people who aren’t inclined to think about the well-being of others are suspicious of those who do, which reflects poorly on them.

“Keep up the good work sir,” was another set of praise.

“We know full well who the bad actors are in this situation,” remarked a BBC radio presenter.

“You remain an undimmed light in a terribly murky moral time. Crack on, pal,” it was finished, with a thumbs-up emoji.

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