The Etihad Airways branding on Manchester City’s kit will be replaced by that of the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 for an upcoming pre-season friendly.

The move will see the Special Olympics 2019 given pride of place on the shirts of the Premier League champions for the match against Borussia Dortmund in Chicago on July 20.

Etihad Airways is the Official Airline Partner of the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 and the logo swap will offer some valuable publicity for the event, which will see more than 7,000 athletes from more than 170 countries gather in the UAE capital.

Being held in the Middle East and North Africa region for the first time, the Special Olympics World Games are expected to attract up to 500,000 spectators is likely to be the largest global event to be ever held in Abu Dhabi.

Patrick Pierce, Etihad Airways Vice President Marketing Partnerships, said: “Promoting the Special Olympics World Games on the Manchester City jersey is a wonderful reflection of our airline’s values. Much like travel, sports play a crucial role in bringing together diverse global communities.

“So it’s our pleasure to join both partners to honour the history of the Special Olympics in their founding city of Chicago, while also drawing attention to what will be the world’s most inclusive sports and humanitarian gathering in 2019.”

The International Champions Cup is a global pre-season tournament featuring some of the biggest clubs in world football.

Significantly, in addition to being a part of the International Champions Cup, Special Olympics are also celebrating their 50th anniversary in the city where it all began. The first ever Special Olympics Summer World Games also took place in Chicago, on Soldier Field on 20 July 1968.

Khalfan Mohamed Al Mazrouei, Managing Director of Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, said: “We are glad to see Man City FC play Borussia Dortmund at Soldier Field, the site of the first Special Olympics International Summer Games, fifty years ago, with the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi logo on their shirt.

“Special Olympics is a global event that aligns closely with the UAE’s values and vision and we are incredibly proud to be the first country in the MENA region to be hosting the upcoming World Games in Abu Dhabi next year.

“Inclusion and integration of people with intellectual disabilities is a priority for the UAE leadership and has been backed by legislation and comprehensive support for people with intellectual disabilities and their families.

“The support of partners such as Etihad has been invaluable in ensuring we are able to spread the Special Olympics message far and wide and we would like to sincerely thank them for their support.”

Etihad Airways is the Official Airline Partner of the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019

Damian Willoughby, Senior Vice President of Partnerships at City Football Group, said: “With the World Games being held in Abu Dhabi next year, we are proud to be a part of such an important landmark event for sports in the Middle East.

“Our deep and longstanding ties with Etihad Airways have led to some phenomenal collaborative projects over the years, as we have sought to make football and sports as accessible, inclusive and engaging as possible for communities around the world.”