Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba wants to help tackle the UK’s cost of living crisis, saying Sky News that ending poverty is the “goal” of a new ethical fund he is launching.
In an exclusive interview with Pogba, the Juventus and France star recalled queuing with his mother at food banks when he was growing up.
“I remember going there when I was four or five,” said the 30-year-old.
“They help you with milk and sugar and all that stuff, and my mom used to go there and stand in line. She was a mother of three and divorced from my dad.”
He added: “I didn’t just get up like that and have money. I fought and it made me better and grow. Now I have the value of money and the value of life. I know what it is to fight. I saw it, my mother did.”
Pogba signed for United in 2016 for a world record fee of £89.3m, for his second spell at the club.
Seeing poverty was inevitable when he lived in Manchester, he said, praising his former team-mate Marcus Rashford, who helped provide holiday food vouchers for children receiving free school meals.
Pogba, who is a Muslim, said charity is an important part of his faith, adding that high-profile athletes have a social responsibility to help communities.
“I want to help because it can be overwhelming for some people,” he said. “It’s nothing to us, but it could be big to them.”
Pogba’s fund is based on Islamic principles known as waqf (Arabic for waqf).
Run by a digital investment platform called Wahed, in collaboration with a UK-registered charity, the aim of his new initiative is to create a self-sustaining giving model.
“It’s basically a perpetual gift where you give money that is invested and the income generated from it is used for good,” explained Wahed’s director of compliance, Umer Suleman.
The partnership will focus on education, poverty alleviation and sustainable development, guided by the principles of Islamic finance and social responsibility.
The fund has launched in the UK but Pogba says he wants to take it worldwide.
“You have to start somewhere,” he said. “You can start with one person, then two, then three, and then it will get bigger and bigger.
“We just try to help as much as we can and hope that if we can touch everyone to end poverty that would be the goal.”