Manchester United and Real Betis have joined forces this week to promote sustainability in football, ahead of the UEFA Europa League round-of-16 first leg meeting between the sides at Old Trafford.
Manchester United legend Wes Brown was joined by Real Betis great Rafael Gordillo as well as representatives from both clubs at a City of Trees project in Manchester today to encourage fans – as well as the wider football industry – to be conscious of their impact on the environment.
Travelling supporters of the Andalusian outfit will also be given green bags and have been asked to help clear up the spaces around the city centre and stadium during their visit.
United fans are being encouraged by the club to return the favour in Seville, ahead of next Thursday’s second leg.
Brown said: “It is great for both clubs to team up on this issue – I think it reminds fans to be aware of the impact they have on the environment when they travel to support their team.
“I encourage supporters to think about sustainable ways to follow football and when they do travel in European competitions it is important to show respect to opposition fans, their home city or town, stadium and culture.”
Gordillo, who made more than 300 appearances for Real Betis over two spells, added: “It is an honour for us to join forces with Manchester United.
“We feel really happy and proud to work side-by-side for sustainability with such a big club.”
Councillor Martyn Cox, Portfolio Lead for the Greater Manchester Green City Region, said: “Through City of Trees we plan to plant three million trees – one for each resident of Greater Manchester.
“The trees planted today by Manchester United, Real Betis and the fan groups will help us to score that goal.”
The act of planting trees in Manchester follows on from United’s carbon offsetting during last summer’s tour of Thailand and Australia.
United’s increased sustainability efforts saw us ranked joint-second in Sport Positive’s Premier League eco-table for 2022, which scored top-flight clubs on a range of green criteria, including use of renewable energy, energy efficiency and reduction and removal of single-use plastic.
You can find out more about our environmental and sustainability policies here.
Real Betis launched its Forever Green campaign in 2020 in a bid to raise awareness of football’s role in environmental issues.
The Seville club has since hosted La Liga’s first sustainable match, against Athletic Club, and planted trees in St Petersburg, Rome and Razgrad during their recent European adventures.
Before the match on Thursday, there will also be a pitchside ceremonial shirt gifting, where Real Betis officials will gift United a special ‘Forever Green’ shirt to commemorate the clubs’ co-operation on this issue.