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Cathay Pacific brings Manchester United Soccer Schools to Hong Kong and offers soccer scholarships

19 Jul 2004


Cathay Pacific Airways today announced that the airline is the presenting sponsor and official carrier for the first ever Manchester United Soccer Schools in Hong Kong. As part of its long-term commitment to youth development and its belief in the importance of providing opportunities for the community, a Cathay Pacific scholarship will also be set up for young talented Hong Kong soccer players.

The Manchester United Soccer Schools is the first of its kind in Asia and will provide training for promising young soccer players in Hong Kong. The school will operate in the Hong Kong Football Club, Happy Valley and the Community Sports Club in Sheung Shui from October 2004 to March 2005. Over 1,000 youngsters between 8 and 15 will benefit from this five-month coaching period.

To help talented Hong Kong soccer players who may not have the opportunity or resources to enrol in the school, the airline has set up a Cathay Pacific Scholarship for these promising youths. Around 30 youngsters will be able to attend free training courses provided by the Manchester United Soccer Schools. Details of recruitment activities will be revealed later.

Today’s announcement took place at the Hong Kong Football Club and officiating guests included Cathay Pacific Director Sales & Marketing James Barrington, Manchester United Soccer Schools New Business Development Manager, Dale Hobson, Manchester United Soccer Schools Head of Operations and Logistics, Gavin Rhodes and also ProEvents Chairman, Paul Kam.

The formalities were followed by a soccer skills demonstration and a preview of what the Manchester United School training has to offer. The “training” session was conducted for a group of Hong Kong youngsters by Gavin Rhodes and former Manchester United legend Eric Cantona.

Cathay Pacific Director Sales & Marketing James Barrington said: “We are delighted to be the first airline to bring in the Manchester United Soccer Schools to Asia and have it located in our home - Hong Kong. With the professional training from the Manchester United Soccer Schools, we will be one step closer to seeing our young Hong Kong soccer players represent Hong Kong in international matches.”

Manchester United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson said: “We believe that through our soccer schools we can take our football philosophy around the world. We are aware that we enjoy huge support in Hong Kong and it is with this in mind that we will be running Manchester United Soccer Schools from October. We believe that the soccer school will provide children – whether fans of Manchester United or not – with the benefit of coaching the Manchester United way.”

Cathay Pacific frequently sponsors international sport and cultural events in Hong Kong to arouse greater awareness and interest amongst local youth. These include the annual Rugby Sevens in March and the recent Mamma Mia Master Class which took place in July that provided excellent opportunities for youth participation.

The Manchester United footballing legend, Mr. Eric Cantona, together with Mr. Dale Hobson, MUSS New Business Development Manager, presenting an autographed Manchester United jersey to Mr. James Barrington, Director Sales & Marketing, Cathay Pacific Airways.Manchester United Soccer Schools Head of Operations and Logistics, Mr. Gavin Rhodes together with former Manchester United legend Mr. Eric Cantona take a photo with Hong Kong youngsters after the soccer skills demonstration of “Cathay Pacific presents Manchester United Soccer Schools press announcement”.
Cathay Pacific Airways is the presenting sponsor and official airline of the first Manchester United Soccer Schools in Asia. Manchester United footballing legend, Mr. Eric Cantona (middle) takes photos with guests (from left) Mr. Alistair Macleod, Vice President, Hong Kong Football Club; Mr. Gavin Rhodes, Head of Operations & Logistics, MUSS; Mr. James Barrington, Director Sales & Marketing, Cathay Pacific; Mr. Paul Kam, Chairman, ProEvents; Mr. Dale Hobson, MUSS New Business Development Manager and Mr. Charlie Stewart-Cox, General Manger Marketing, Cathay Pacific.Mr. Eric Cantona coaching a group of promising football players in the “Manchester United Way”.