Ahead of the two sides going head to head in the Europa League this week, Manchester United and Real Betis have joined forces to promote sustainability in football.

To launch the campaign, former United defender Wes Brown and Real Betis icon Rafael Gordillo, as well as representatives from both clubs, were at a City of Trees project in Manchester yesterday to encourage fans – as well as the wider football industry – to be conscious of their impact on the environment.

Councillor Martyn Cox, Portfolio Lead for the Greater Manchester Green City Region, commented: “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.”

Additionally as part of the initiative, travelling supporters of the Andalusian outfit will also be given green bags and have been asked to help clear up the spaces around Manchester.

United fans are being encouraged by the club to return the favour in Seville, ahead of next Thursday’s second leg.

United’s 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 concluded on the initiative: “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.”

United’s increased sustainability efforts saw the club 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.Real Betis launched its Forever Green campaign in 2020 in a bid to raise awareness of football’s role in environmental issues.

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