Manchester United and Real Betis have joined forces this week to promote sustainability in football.
The pair go head-to-head in the Europa League round-of-16 first leg at Old Trafford this evening.
Former United player 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 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 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.
Speaking of the initiative, 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.”
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 them 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.
The Seville club has since hosted LaLiga’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.