Players aim to smash world record for longest match

IF a quick game of football down the park is enough to leave you shattered, spare a thought for a team of fundraising friends in the Capital.

The 16-strong team are gearing up to smash a Guinness World Record for playing the longest single game without a break.

They have vowed to crush the current record of 44 hours set by a group of London paramedics earlier this year by playing more than 50 hours in total.

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Organiser Mike Paul, 28, a marketing manager, said he had come up with the challenge with three friends – Iain Weston, Edward Shepherd and Ally McQuat – after they all completed a mammoth five marathons in five days in September for charity Mary’s Meals.

He said: “I had the idea when we ran five marathons between Brussels and Amsterdam. It was such an incredible thing to have done, we decided we wanted to do another challenge to top it.

“We all play football two of three times a week, so we thought this was the natural choice. We thought, why not try to break a record? I always used to watch Record Breakers as a kid and I think we’re all sufficiently good at football to destroy this record.

“People try to break it all the time but most people don’t manage it because they greatly underestimate how difficult it is.

“It’s going to be the equivalent of three marathons in a row. We’ll be playing football as normal but everyone will also do distance running training, first building up to 10k and then eventually a marathon.”

Each player will have to play non-stop for five hours, before taking a break for three hours and then repeating the pattern a further five times. Around 16 keen footballers are signed up to take part, of which ten will be on the pitch at any one time, raising money for the Homeless World Cup and Street Soccer Scotland.

Mike has pencilled in a date of June 22 next year, although it depends when a Guinness World Records independent adjudicator can make the trip to Edinburgh.

He said the team hoped they would be allowed to play the mammoth match in Princes Street Gardens or on The Mound.

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He said: “It’ll be one continuous game of five-a-side football and there will be thousands of goals scored, I’m sure.

“We’re looking for sponsors and for people to come and watch, to support us. We already go down to the Meadows in summer and play football for four or five hours at a time, but this will be six times as intensive.

“By the last leg we’ll hardly be able to walk. There will be no standing around and kicking the ball, we have to keep playing competitively. Everybody who breaks the record does it by an hour or so, but we want to absolutely destroy it.

“We’re doing it for the Homeless World Cup and Street Soccer Scotland, who organise the Scottish team for the World Cup event. Scotland won last year, so to make sure the tournament continues this year we want to raise the cash.

“We’re hoping to make at least £10,000, but I’m hopeful we can raise £16,000 –£1000 each.”