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City stars launch community walking football programme

City stars past and present took part in a launch event for City in the Community’s (CITC) Walking Football programme, designed to encourage over 50s to get back into football and keep active.

Along with City legends Mike Summerbee and Peter Barnes, David Silva and Pablo Zabaleta met with participants and were keen to try out the up-and-coming sport at the recently opened City Football Academy.

Regular players quickly pointed out there is only one difference between walking football and regular football: absolutely no running or jogging permitted.

In fact, both are grounds for the referee to award the opposition a free-kick!

Following his first taste of walking football, Zabaleta commented: "It was difficult to adjust to the no running rule at first, but we soon got the hang of it.

Walking football

"It's great City in the Community are providing opportunities for all ages and abilities.

"Walking football is definitely more about skill than speed but I think the players just enjoy how much fun it is to get out on the pitch without having to worry about keeping up a fast pace."

Discussing the advantages to the new initiative, Mike Green, Head of City in the Community said: "Walking Football is a great way for our older participants to get some regular, informal exercise as well as looking after their general health and wellbeing.

"Each session consists of a short warm-up and then a series of round robin games. After the activity, we provide refreshments so it's a great way for them to socialise and discuss the highlights of the game.

"It's an enjoyable afternoon for everyone involved!"

Walking football

Run in partnership with the Eastlands Trust, walking football is designed for over-50s but anyone is welcome to attend CITC's sessions.

As a result of its growing popularity, CITC will introduce a walking football league in January allowing players to compete against other walking football teams across the North West.

Find out more at mcfc.co.uk/community.

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