English Premier League football club Manchester United has announced a partnership with water, hygiene and infection prevention company, Ecolab.

The deal has been signed as Premier League clubs prepare to welcome back full stadiums of fans for the start of the new season, with United to adopt Ecolab’s science-based solutions across Old Trafford and its Carrington training ground.

United said it will draw on Ecolab’s expertise to show leadership in hygiene and sustainable practices, helping create a cleaner environment for fans and promote public health as Old Trafford prepares to open the turnstiles to its largest crowds for 17 months.

The club has committed to working with Ecolab to deliver a higher level of cleanliness based on rigorous cleaning protocols, training and audits that will earn United the official Ecolab Science Certified seal. All areas of Old Trafford stadium and Carrington are being equipped with Ecolab hand disinfectant, also used across the National Health Service (NHS).

A customised textile care solution for United’s laundry will deliver improved quality, safety, and sustainability when washing kits and linens; and the club’s groundskeeping team will be advised on how to optimise the quality of water used to irrigate pitches and help provide the best possible playing surfaces throughout the season at Old Trafford and Carrington.

To maximise the benefits of the partnership, Ecolab has designated an in-house expert to advise United and oversee implementation of the new solutions and technology across the club.

Manchester United’s chief operating officer, Collette Roche, said: “The safety of our fans, employees and players will always be a priority for Manchester United. As we prepare to fully reopen Old Trafford, we recognise it is more important than ever to elevate our already high standards of hygiene and infection prevention.

“We look forward to working with Ecolab to achieve its official Ecolab Science Certified Seal, so that all visitors to the club can see our commitment to delivering a higher level of cleanliness and ensuring they receive the best possible experience.”

Christophe Beck, Ecolab CEO, added: “Our ambition is to support the global economic and societal recovery by promoting more hygienic and sustainable practices. Building on our industrial, healthcare and hospitality experience and scientific expertise, we will continue to help organisations like Manchester United deliver experiences that protect public health while preserving the health of our planet.”

Sports venues in England were cleared to open at full capacity from July 19 after the UK Government on July 5 announced that COVID-19 restrictions would be lifted.

United supporters were able to sample new rail seating at Old Trafford for the first time last month as 30,000 fans turned out for the pre-season friendly against Premier League newcomer Brentford.

It marked only the second time that United fans had been able to attend a match at the 75,000-seat stadium since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. Around 10,000 supporters were allowed in the ground for United’s final home Premier League match of last season against Fulham.

The attendance for the match against Brentford was triple that of the Fulham fixture. The match, which finished 2-2, was the first time that Old Trafford’s new rail seating had been in operation.

The installation of the 1,500 rail seats began in June, with United having received permission to trial the safe standing section in April 2020. The seats were fitted following discussions between the club and the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST).

Image: Alessio Festa on Unsplash