Kicking it for a cause

Benefit event has celebs playing the field

LONDON — It’s called football in England and soccer in the U.S. But despite a minor disagreement over the name of the game, nothing brings people together from all around the world more effectively than a good game.

So it proved again at the eighth annual Film Industry Football Event, a charity five-a-side tournament that took place June 5 at the west London stadium of Premiership soccer club Fulham.

More than 250 players showed up, repping 36 teams from companies such as Warner, Universal, Redbus, Momentum, Archer Street Prods and ICM.

But it wasn’t all fun and games.

Thesp Rafe Spall (“Shaun of the Dead”) managed to get himself sent off for arguing just a bit too passionately with the referee about a crunching tackle from “Hilary and Jackie” producer Andy Paterson.

There was also an invitation-only 11-a-side game during the lunch break, involving celebs and industryites such as UIP topper Stewart Till (event’s instigator and guiding light), British film commissioner Steve Norris, Allon Reich of DNA Films, PR maestro Charles McDonald and, in an amusing cameo as a bespectacled goalkeeper, veteran producer Nik Powell.

Tourney was won by legal firm Davenport Lyons, which pipped fellow attorneys Harbottle & Lewis in the final. But kudos should go to Hustle KF, a team of enterprising and skillful Americans led by Sony Pictures Classics exec Dylan Leiner, who made the transatlantic trip especially for the event.

Event raised more than £40,000 ($73,000) for children’s charity NCH.

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