This year more than ever – with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement – we have been reminded of the power of football as a unifying force.

Premier League players and coaches took the knee before kick-off for every game when the Premier League season restarted in June, and City players had the words ‘Black Lives Matter’ replacing their names on their shirts for the opening match. As an additional initiative, we announced funding to establish new partnerships with anti-discrimination charities as part of the Club’s ongoing work to tackle racism and promote inclusion in Manchester.

How we use matchdays is really important in amplifying our messages, and this year across several home games at the Etihad Stadium we showcased the Rainbow Laces campaign, No Room For Racism, Heads Up Mental Health and International Women’s Day (when we also launched the new Same City, Same Passion video).

Manchester Pride is one of the biggest, most welcoming and inclusive events of the city’s calendar – to mark this year’s event in August 2019, we proudly raised the rainbow flag at the Etihad Stadium, helped our supporters group the Canal Street Blues to take part in the parade with branding for the bus, and launched a bespoke Manchester City Limited Edition Pride Shirt, created by PUMA and Manchester Metropolitan University with Football v Homophobia.

We also launched the City Football Group Women’s Network in July 2020, an active and empowering resource for City staff.