Manchester City were the main protagonists of the return leg of the English Premier League with their 3-0 victory over Arsenal in a match in which the 'sky blue' team wore a new custom-made shirt in appreciation and remembrance of the global efforts made by all to help in the progressive recovery from the hard blow received by the health crisis of the COVID-19 disease.
The initiative was supported by Etihad Airways, a partner company of the 'cityzen' club headed by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan, a member of Abu Dhabi's ruling family. Etihad Airways gave the main advertising space on the front of the sky-blue elastic to the new logo which showed the slogan 'Choose the Cityzens (name by which the team's fans are known) giving for recovery'. This is all part of a 12-month campaign orchestrated by the UAE-owned institution that seeks to reach out to local communities to overcome the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The proposal with the new kit for the match against Arsenal directly supports nine recovery projects around the world through fundraising, use of Arsenal facilities and available resources. Each of the teams within the Manchester City structure, staff, players, coaches and fans will be involved, each contributing their bit as far as they can.
Robin Kamark, Etihad's commercial director, highlighted the proposal and the company's involvement: "Giving back to the community their trust and input is a priority for Etihad, and a commitment we take seriously as an organisation. As we navigate a new world, recovery is paramount for us to get back on our feet and start again, stronger than before".
"To support the 'Choose the Cityzens giving for recovery' campaign we have committed our brand space in front of the shirt for Manchester City's return match in the English Premier League, a significant gesture that we know will resonate with fans around the world," Kamark said ahead of the match. "We value the decade-long partnership we have shared with Manchester City, and we are excited to continue working together throughout the campaign to support communities in their recovery efforts," said the executive, recalling the long journey Manchester City and Etihad Airways have made together as partners.
Omar Berrada, Chief Operating Officer of Manchester City, expressed his appreciation for Etihad's support and highlighted the relevance of the planned initiative: "We are very grateful to our partners at Etihad for allowing us to use our most visible and significant asset to promote 'Choose the Cityzens giving for recovery'. As always, it demonstrates the durability, depth and value of our partnership. "At a time when many around the world have suffered enormous losses, we are proud of our new campaign to help our communities around the world recover," Berrada added ahead of the Manchester and London match.
Manchester City took advantage of the first match after the COVID-19 pandemic forced a break to implement the proposal developed with Etihad and to bring joy to the fans thanks to the clear 3-0 victory over Arsenal.
The league is already a long way off for Pep Guardiola's team, as Liverpool are the clear favourites due to their wide lead in the standings, but they put on a good show and a convincing win over the Gunners. All this is waiting for the return of the competition that most attracts City, the coveted Champions League. A Champions League that will return in August and in which Manchester have the pass to the next phase on track after the advantage gained in the first leg of the round of sixteen that won 2-1 against Real Madrid CF at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium.
At the Etihad Stadium, Guardiola's side dominated the game and managed to break the deadlock midway through the match thanks to goals from Raheem Sterling in first-half stoppage time and Kevin de Bruyne in the 51st minute. Finally, the youngster Phil Foden made the final decision.
The match was postponed due to the League Cup final that City won against Aston Villa in early March, before the forced stoppage due to the worldwide spread of the coronavirus. A health problem that has forced to take important safety and health measures for the return to international football competition, including the English, with closed-door matches without an audience and special protection and distance measures for all those involved in the games to avoid possible contagion.