Club welcomes development figures

by Sunderland AFC

VIPs welcomed to the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland’s Stadium of Light played host to a government minister and key international development leaders from across Africa, as part of an international project to promote business between the North of England and the African continent.

Last night the Stadium of Light welcomed Foreign and Commonwealth Minister, Mark Simmonds and his key staff, who were joined by the UK’s Deputy High Commissioner for Nigeria, the High Commissioner for Tanzania and representatives from the Ghana High Commission, in meeting regional stakeholders and key business leaders. 

The event detailed how the British Government is working with African countries and UK companies to capitalise on the opportunities that exist across sub-Saharan Africa.  It also afforded Sunderland AFC the opportunity to share information on the club’s increasing number of African-focused partnerships and collaborations to the influential audience.

Mr Simmonds labelled the continent as the economic landscape of the future and talked about how the market in Africa is progressing at a rapid rate.

Before the event Mr Simmonds and the party from Africa were given a tour of the Stadium of Light, home to Sunderland AFC, who have cultivated a growing relationship with the continent.

The party was also given an insight into the club’s work in Africa and how it has established itself as one of the most recognised and respected English Premier League clubs across Africa due to its partnerships, football club relationships and grass-roots activities.

The Black Cats boast two partner clubs – Bidvest Wits in South Africa and Asante Kotoko in Ghana – and are currently spearheading an exciting academy project in Tanzania, in addition to a range of partnership and sponsorship agreements.

Gary Hutchinson, commercial director at Sunderland AFC said: “We were delighted to welcome such distinguished guests to the Stadium of Light. 

"The evening was a unique opportunity for guests to learn about the huge opportunities that Africa can afford businesses from experts in their fields and to further develop business links between the North East of England and this dynamic continent.”

“As a club we have already undertaken extensive work in the business and community sectors across the continent and to be able to share our achievements and forward plans with senior regional and international figures was a great benefit.”

Stories and information about Sunderland’s extensive work in Africa can be seen by visiting