Melbourne City Football Club has announced Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, as its new principal partner.

The five-year deal and new team kit were unveiled today by Scott Munn, Chief Executive Officer of Melbourne City FC, and James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, at the football club’s AAMI Park home stadium.

James Hogan said: “Etihad Airways and the City of Melbourne have a special relationship. It’s not only one of the most popular destinations in our global network, it’s also the home of Etihad Stadium, Melbourne’s premier sports and entertainment precinct.

“Our new partnership with Melbourne City FC further strengthens our ties with this great city and, we hope, will support the Club and its army of fans in their bid to win the Hyundai A-League.

“It’s also a valuable addition to our portfolio of sporting partnerships which includes Barclays Premier League champions, Manchester City FC, and their home ground at Etihad Stadium in Manchester.”

Scott Munn said: “We are very excited about what we are building here at Melbourne City and this new partnership with Etihad Airways underlines our growing potential both on and off the pitch.”

In addition to the branding opportunities, Mr Hogan and Mr Munn also spoke of the broader initiatives that Etihad Airways and Melbourne City FC will work on together which include football schools for children, regular fan competitions, and promotional airfares for Club members and fans.

The Melbourne City squad and management team will fly with Etihad Airways, via Abu Dhabi, for the club’s pre-season tour of England departing from Melbourne tonight (Monday 7 July).