Manchester City football club, in collaboration with its global partner Etihad Airways, have announced the launch of a brand-new community football initiative in cities across India. The joint initiative will see Manchester City and Etihad Airways work together with Club charity City in the Community, as well as non-governmental partner organisation (NGO) Magic Bus India Foundation, to deliver health and life skills training for local young people through football.

Kicking off this April in three cities within Etihad’s network – New Delhi, Kolkata, and Bangalore – before more locations follow down the line, the project aims to help support a better future for young people. It’s not the first time Etihad and Manchester city have collaborated on a project that uses football to uplift a local community within the airline’s network: the two organizations have been fostering such initiatives since the launch of the official partnership between the two organisations was established in 2009, with past efforts including a number of global and regional summits in Manchester and Abu Dhabi that worked towards upskilling young leaders in community football coaching and leadership.

Tom Pitchon, director of City Football Group’s global foundation, said: “We are proud to work with Etihad Airways to uplift the health and life skills of young people across India through the power of football. “Etihad are a long-standing supporter of our community football impact, and it’s great to have them on board, helping us create real impact for young people around the world.”

The initiative will be delivered by local NGO Magic Bus India Foundation, who have partnered with the club on various initiatives since 2016, including an Etihad-supported programme in Kolkata that engaged 2,000 young people with health and hygiene education through football. Etihad will be flying in coaches from City in the Community, the Club’s official charity, to India to deliver its world-class football and leadership training to Young Leaders championing these projects. The trainees will then put their skills into practice, as part of their commitment to using football to uplift the health of young people in their cities.

Etihad to launch flights to Antalya and Jaipur

Akhil Anumolu, senior vice president eCommerce, digital, marketing and loyalty at Etihad Airways, said “This is a fantastic opportunity for Etihad to work hand-in-hand with our partners at City Football Group to support the local community in India. Over the coming years, we’re committed to growing this programme across more locations in India, and we hope the unique power of football will have a lasting impact on the young people who take part and their wider community.”

Jayant Rastogi, gllobal CEO of Magic Bus India Foundation, added: “Through the spirit of football, we are on a transformative journey with Manchester City and Etihad Airways to enhance the life skills of young people across India. Together, we aim to create a lasting impact by empowering them through the universal language of ‘Sports for Development’. This initiative symbolizes our shared commitment to fostering positive change and building a better future for the Young Leaders and communities we touch.”