Manchester City and parent company, City Football Group, have announced their long-term commitment to support a Special Olympics project in Beijing.


The announcement comes after City returned from a pre-season tour of China and after 24 Young Leaders from the ‘Special Olympics East Asia Unified Schools’ in Beijing were invited to access a three-day Cityzens Giving leadership course offering cutting edge training in community football.


Ahead of the announcement, the club linked up with Special Olympics projects in Beijing and Shenzhen to deliver community football training for local young coaches and staff.


The ‘Special Olympics Unified Schools Football Training’ programme in Beijing, delivered in partnership with Special Olympics East Asia, will be a new addition to the Cityzens Giving family of projects in November 2016 and will see Young Leaders use the power of football to improve health, build friendships and create an inclusive environment for children with and without intellectual disabilities.


Tom Pitchon, City Football Group’s Foundation Director said: “Manchester City was founded as a community club over 120 years ago and those community links remain as strong as ever. Today, we are supporting communities in Manchester, through all City Football Group’s clubs and in cities around the world.


“We are excited to be partnering with the Special Olympics in Beijing to deliver a sustainable and valuable project in the local community. The power of football cannot be underestimated and this project is the perfect example of how it can be used as a tool for social integration and inclusion.”


Quote from Ann Huang, Senior Manager of Sports at Special Olympics East Asia: “We are excited to be announced as a Cityzens Giving project, as we share City Football Group’s ethos of making a difference through football.


“We are passionate about empowering people with intellectual disabilities to become accepted and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more respectful and inclusive society for all. Using football as a catalyst, this project will tackle inactivity, injustice and intolerance.”


Cityzens Giving currently funds projects run by young leaders in Manchester, New York, Melbourne, Kolkata, Cape Coast, São Paulo, Kuala Lumpur, Cape Town and Barranquilla, tackling a range of issues including unemployment, social inclusion and HIV / AIDS.


For the third year, a fan-facing campaign will launch in November 2016 enabling fans of City Football Group clubs to vote on how a £400,000 charitable fund is allocated across six community football projects. The campaign will mark the total funding commitment between 2015 and 2017, by City Football Group and its partners, to over £1.5 million, funding twelve community football projects worldwide.