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Chelsea footballer raises funds for persecuted Christians

by Premier Journalist

Premier League footballer Olivier Giroud has taken part in an online fundraising gala for the persecuted church.

Giroud auctioned off his National French jersey worn on his 100th match with the national team and the t-shirt worn in Chelsea's 2020 FA Cup final. 

French-speaking church, French Connect London, organised the event in partnership with Plus Que Sportifs to raise funds for projects in North Cameroon, the Maghreb and Mali supported by Open Doors and Holistic Sports France. 

According to Open Doors, there are currently 300 million Christians persecuted around the world. 

Speaking at the gala, Giroud said: "It is unimaginable to see so many persecuted Christians in the world today.

"It is incredible to have numbers like that. We have to talk about it."

The t-shirts of french footballer Aurelien Colin, Major League Soccer champion in the United States (MLS), Astride N'Gouan, French Handball champion and others also went under the hammer.

In a tweet, Joel Thibault, one of the organisers of the event said: "Thank you all. The amount of the 2019 gala has been greatly exceeded."

The event has raised £12,000.

Emma Worrall, innovation lead at Open Doors UK and Ireland, said: "Today more than 300 million Christians worldwide are persecuted thanks to their faith.

"They are victims of violence, rape and murder but also face harassment and abuse in their communities.

"So, we want to thank Olivier Giroud for his heart for Christians who are persecuted for their faith."

Clémence Martin, press officer at Open Doors France added: "Since the beginning of the year, Christians in the far north of Cameroon have suffered up to three attacks per week perpetrated by Islamic extremists Boko Haram.

"We try to encourage Christians there, by maintaining a presence of our team members on site and by giving them essential goods such as rice, corn, cloth, medicines and money so that they can themselves buy medicine, especially when they take refuge in the mosquito-infested mountains."

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