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● The match will take place at the Soldier Field stadium in Chicago on 20 July 2018
● The Special Olympics World Games are being held in Abu Dhabi 14-21 March 2019
Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has been Manchester City’s main club partner since 2009, with its logo as an instantly recognisable part of the club kit.
But on 20 July, when City play Borussia Dortmund in Chicago, the airline’s branding will be replaced with the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 logo, ahead of the World Games being hosted in Abu Dhabi in 2019, of which Etihad Airways is the Official Airline Partner.
The move comes as part of Etihad Airways’ efforts to raise awareness about the Special Olympics World Games, which will see over 7,000 athletes from more than 170 countries gather in Abu Dhabi for the biennial.
Being held in the Middle East and North Africa region for the first time, the Special Olympics World Games are expected to attract up to 500,000 spectators is likely to be the largest global event to be ever held in the United Arab Emirates’ capitan.
Patrick Pierce, Etihad Airways Vice President Marketing Partnerships, said: “Promoting the Special Olympics World Games on the Manchester City jersey is a wonderful reflection of our airline’s values. Much like travel, sports play a crucial role in bringing together diverse global communities. So it’s our pleasure to join both partners to honor the history of the Special Olympics in their founding city of Chicago, while also drawing attention to what will be the world’s most inclusive sports and humanitarian gathering in 2019.”
The International Champions Cup is a global pre-season tournament featuring some of the biggest clubs in world football.
Significantly, in addition to being a part of the International Champions Cup, Special Olympics are also celebrating their 50th anniversary in the city where it all began. The first ever Special Olympics Summer World Games also took place in Chicago, on Soldier Field on 20 July 1968.
Khalfan Mohamed Al Mazrouei, Managing Director of Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, said: “We are glad to see Man City FC play Borussia Dortmund at Soldier Field, the site of the first Special Olympics International Summer Games, fifty years ago, with the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi logo on their shirt.
“Special Olympics is a global event that aligns closely with the UAE’s values and vision and we are incredibly proud to be the first country in the MENA region to be hosting the upcoming World Games in Abu Dhabi next year. Inclusion and integration of people with intellectual disabilities is a priority for the UAE leadership and has been backed by legislation and comprehensive support for people with intellectual disabilities and their families. The support of partners such as Etihad has been invaluable in ensuring we are able to spread the Special Olympics message far and wide and we would like to sincerely thank them for their support.”
Damian Willoughby, Senior Vice President of Partnerships at City Football Group, said: “With the Special Olympics World Games being held in Abu Dhabi next year, we are proud to be a part of such an important landmark event for sports in the Middle East. Our deep and longstanding ties with Etihad Airways have led to some phenomenal collaborative projects over the years, as we have sought to make football and sports as accessible, inclusive and engaging as possible for communities around the world.”
Network will allow fans' representatives and the Club to meet on a quarterly basis to discus a range of topics and issues