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What is a testimonial match and how can footballers qualify to have them?

With the season coming to a close it is almost testimonial time, with departing legends being honoured for their service. 

Clubs from all around the country will celebrate the careers of iconic players leaving or retiring from football altogether. 

Phil Jones turned down an offer of a Man United testimonial


Phil Jones turned down an offer of a Man United testimonial

And testimonials have already been in the news with Manchester United offering one to Phil Jones who is set to leave this summer. 

However, Jones turned down the idea of bringing fans together for him, reportedly joking: ‘Apart from my mum and dad, who else would turn up?’ 

The thought of the defender having a testimonial is definitely a strange one having started just two games in the last three years.

So how come he was offered one? takes a look…

What is a testimonial match? 

A testimonial match is a game played to honour a footballer who has spent a long time playing for one club. 

They usually take place when the player is ending their long-term service or retiring. 

The games are played like a friendly, with the retiring player’s current and former teammates commonly coming together to feature.

Modern testimonials are also used to raise money for a charity the departing player has chosen to support. 

Man United legend Wayne Rooney had a testimonial back in 2018

Man United legend Wayne Rooney had a testimonial back in 2018

How can footballers qualify to have them? 

Usually, players only receive a testimonial if they have spent at least 10 years at one club. 

Many legends have of course spent a decade or longer at their clubs with Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, Michael Carrick and Jamie Carragher all receiving one.

A player like Jones for Man United has not gained legend status over his 10 years but he still qualified to be offered a testimonial. 

However, after turning down the offer, he won’t have a send-off at Old Trafford before becoming a free agent. 

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