Man Utd names first partners

The Cystic Fibrosis Trust and the Children's Society have become the first national charities to benefit from Manchester United's new charitable foundation.

The football club will support the charities’ fundraising activities by providing signed merchandise and free facilities such as use of its pitch during the summer. No direct grants will be paid to the charities in the three-year deals.

Trish Hirst, chief executive of the MU Foundation, said no fundraising targets had yet been set. “The Manchester United brand is enormous, and for these charities the use of the brand to raise awareness is just as important,” she said.

The foundation will also work with four charities based in the north-west: disabled children’s education charity Rainbow House, Manchester cancer treatment centre the Christie Hospital, Francis House Children’s Hospice in Manchester and the New Children’s Hospital Appeal in Manchester.

Hirst said the foundation had been “inundated” with applications. All Manchester United staff and more than 5,000 fans voted on the submissions to produce a shortlist. Finalists were invited to present their proposals to a panel in person. Each successful charity nominated a specific project to benefit from the partnership.

Manchester United is the world's fourth richest football club, making £162m in 2005-06, according to Deloitte's Football Money League.

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