Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : UK government diplomats celebrating 150th anniversary of Scotland v England football fixture across the world [November 2022]

The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 30 November 2022.

  • Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office staff marking 150th anniversary of famous fixture by playing Scotland v England games around the world
  • granddaughter of football legend Jack Charlton amongst those pulling on their boots to celebrate the world’s first international football match
  • diplomats working overseas in countries including Bahrain, British Virgin Islands, Malaysia, Mozambique, Poland and Serbia celebrate with St Andrew’s Day kickabouts 150 years on from first ever Scotland v England friendly

Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office staff around the world have been marking the 150th anniversary of the first ever football international on St Andrew’s Day by holding their own Scotland v England matches.

The granddaughter of football legend Jack Charlton will line-up for England in a charity match organised by staff at the FCDO’s joint HQ, Abercrombie House, in East Kilbride, Lanarkshire this Sunday (4 December).

Kate Wilkinson moved to Scotland 6 years ago to work as a Syria programme manager for FCDO and is looking forward starring in the staff Scotland v England clash, which is raising funds jointly for the East Kilbride Community Trust and Women’s Aid South Lanarkshire and East Renfrewshire.

Diplomats working overseas in countries including Bahrain, the British Virgin Islands, Malaysia, Mozambique, Poland and Serbia are also celebrating the historic fixture’s 150th birthday.

The fixture is celebrated as the world’s first international football match after Scotland and England drew 0-0 in front of 4,000 spectators at the West of Scotland Cricket Ground, in Glasgow, on 30 November 1872.

World Cup winning defender Jack, who died aged 85 in 2020 after a battle with lymphoma, made his mark on the famous fixture.

Leeds-born Kate, 28, said:

My grandad loved England v Scotland games and used to joke to fans that if he had not got injured in the famous 1967 match, Scotland would never have won 3-2.

There were no substitutes allowed back then so my grandad was forced to hobble around as a striker for most of the match after breaking his toe early on. He still managed to score a goal.

I’m very much looking forward to helping celebrate the 150th anniversary of the fixture, although I’ve told my team not to expect much from me- I’ve got 2 left feet!

Funnily enough, the Charlton soccer skills did not pass down from either Jack or Bobby to the rest of the family. There was no danger of me being part of the England Lioness’ Euro winning side this summer.

I think my grandad must have taken one look at me and my siblings playing when we were younger and thought ‘Gosh, what on earth has happened here?’.

I’m sure once my team have seen me play, they will decide I’d be better cheering them on to victory from the touchline. It’s a great chance for us to raise money for good causes.

Almost 1,000 staff are at the heart of delivering UK foreign policy from the FCDO’s joint HQ in Scotland – with plans to redeploy a further 500 jobs to the East Kilbride site as part of the UK government’s levelling-up agenda.

Sunday’s fundraiser is taking place at the K-Training Academy in East Kilbride at 4pm.

East Kilbride Community Trust Facilities Manager Ian Aitchison said:

It is fantastic that the FCDO is marking the 150th anniversary of the birth of international football by holding Scotland v England games around the world.

Ideally, Scotland would have been facing England this week at the World Cup, but we are proud to be part of this event in East Kilbride.

Scots diplomat Euan Davidson and English colleague Freddie Brunt skippered the sides for a Scotland v England 6-a-side match in Maputo, Mozambique on Sunday. The Dark Blues triumphed 9-5.

Euan beamed:

It was a great game for the neutral, with England regaining the lead in the last 10 minutes before Scotland came back to secure a historic win.

What the Scottish players lacked in fitness, skills and ability, we made up for with some creative signings, drawing on Mozambicans, Brazilians and Dutch players to score all our goals!

Freddie said:

It was a topsy-turvy game played in true British conditions – windy and wet. Scotland were leading, England came back, but then we tired and Scotland ran away with it.

I suppose the Scotland win will soften the blow of them not having a team to cheer on at the World Cup… unlike England and Wales.

Staff in Warsaw, Poland braved snow and sub-zero temperatures to play their game, while in Belgrade, Serbia diplomats Lara Bryden and Thomas Wright had fun contesting a Scotland v England Subbuteo game during a St Andrew’s Day event held at the British Embassy. Their match finished 1-1.

The FCDO is also celebrating St Andrew’s Day around the world – with Scottish Secretary Alister Jack travelling to Paris on a 2-day trip to promote Scottish trade with France.

The Secretary of State will meet UK and French businesses, as well as government ministers, diplomatic staff, parliamentarians, senators and British community leaders. He will visit Chanel, to see how they are using Harris Tweed and other Scottish materials in their latest range, and will also jointly host a St Andrew’s night dinner with the British Ambassador to France, Dame Menna Rawlings.

To make a charity match donation, visit