Abu Dhabi-based fund Aabar Investments has signed a partnership with Manchester City Women’s Football Club (MCWFC), part of the premier league English football club.
As part of the deal, Aabar will sponsor Manchester City Women’s pre-season training camp in Abu Dhabi and receive a range of match-day advertising at the new Academy Stadium, where the team will play their home games, a statement said.
Aabar will also brand Manchester City’s community pitch at the recently opened City Football Academy, located in East Manchester.
Aside from other activities, the MCWFC team will also take part in knowledge sharing exercises with the UAE Women’s National Team, the statement said.
Players and coaches from the English football club will conduct four coaching clinics to provide tactical, football and physical skills to the national team in Abu Dhabi.
“Manchester City Women are continuing to grow both on and off the field and today’s announcement of a new partnership with Aabar, a global company, is evidence of this,” said Tom Glick, chief business officer, Manchester City.
Aabar, a subsidiary of the International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC), also supports City Football Schools, Manchester City’s network of international academies.
Manchester City was brought in 2008 by Abu Dhabi royal family member Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is also the chairman of IPIC. The club’s other headline sponsors are also Abu Dhabi-based companies such as Etisalat and Etihad Airways.
Last year, Manchester City also signed a three-year sponsorship agreement with Dubai-based construction firm Arabtec, in which Aabar holds a significant stake.
Middle Eastern firms’ share of investment in sports teams across Europe has been growing, a recent report from sports marketing research firm Repucom showed.
According to the report, Middle Eastern investors spent $1.5 billion on team ownership in Europe in the last two years.
Aside from Manchester City, English clubs such as Arsenal and Nottingham Forest also have Middle Eastern shareholders while French team Paris St. Germain and Spanish top flight club Malaga are Qatari owned.