Sir Bobby to lead British team at Maccabiah

Cricketer Michael Klinger pulls out after being chosen for premier Australian squad.

bobby charlton 248.88 (photo credit: )
bobby charlton 248.88
(photo credit: )
Manchester United legend Sir Bobby Charlton will lead Team Great Britain into the Ramat Gan Stadium at the Opening Ceremony of the 18th Maccabiah Games on July 12. During his time in Israel, Sir Bobby, who is the special guest of Maccabi GB and UJIA, will attend a number of Maccabiah events. Charlton, who will be travelling with his wife, Lady Norma, and fellow Manchester United director Mike Edelson, is also in Israel as part of his involvement with the British Council's 'Football 4 Peace' project. On July 10, he and his party, which includes four Manchester United Foundation coaches, will attend a coaching session with Arab and Jewish children who are participating in the project at the Wingate Sports Institute in Netanya. "As the third largest sporting event in the world, the Maccabiah Games has been something I have long been aware of," Charlton said. "To be asked to lead the British delegation into the Ramat Gan Stadium in front of 40,000 spectators is an honor and one that I am looking forward to immensely. "As an ambassador for Manchester United Football Club I am also extremely proud to be in Israel not only taking part in the Maccabiah Games, but also helping to unite Arab and Jewish communities in Israel through football." Arguably the best player England has ever produced, Charlton is one of the most recognizable faces in world soccer. As a Manchester United player, Sir Bobby won three league titles and one FA Cup, as well as the European Cup in 1968. The 71-year-old, who survived the Munich air disaster in 1958, was the European player of the year in 1966, the same year he helped England to its one and only World Cup triumph. He is still England's record goal scorer with 49 goals in 106 appearances, and in 17 seasons at Manchester United he made 758 appearances, scoring 249 goals. He received a knighthood in 1994 and in 2008 was awarded the prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2009, Sir Bobby was given the freedom of the city of Manchester and he remains involved in a number of charitable activities including fund raising for cancer hospitals and the land mine clearance charity Mines Advisory Group. In other Maccabiah news, cricketer Michael Klinger has been selected to the Australia "A" team for the upcoming series against Pakistan and therefore will miss out on competing in the Maccabiah. "I wish the team every success and hope they strike gold. I am disappointed I will not be there with them," he said. " This is a great stepping stone towards my number one dream. Some members of the current Test side received their first cap at the age of 31, so time is still on my side." The 28-year old batsman will become only the second Jewish cricketer to represent Australia in international cricket. Julien Wiener played in six Test matches in 1979 and 1980. It has also been announced that Los Angeles Dodgers owner and CEO, Mrs. Jamie McCourt, will attend the opening game of the Maccabiah baseball competition.