As the 2018-19 Premier League season is set to kick off, Bournemouth University has confirmed its official partnership with AFC Bournemouth for the coming season.
BU is the Official Higher Education Partner of AFC Bournemouth, with the partnership now extending into its fifth year.
The partnership brings many benefits for both parties, as well as the local community, including joint community projects, development opportunities for students through the football club, and Bournemouth University advertising inside the Vitality Stadium.
Ian Jones, Head of Regional Community Partnerships, said, “Our official partnership is now extending into its fifth year, and we could not be more proud to support and deepen our links with our local football club.
"As a university, excellence is one of our core values, and we see this embodied in the football club too.We are delighted to once again be able to put our support behind our local team for the upcoming season, and will be ready to cheer on the Cherries as they aim for another good season in the Premier League.”
Over the last year the two organisations have worked together on initiatives that have increased the reputation of both organisations.
Each year, one AFC Bournemouth game is designated as the BU Big Match, with BU taking a lead in providing a range of activity in the run up to the game, such as a joint visit to Poole High School, as well as entertainment outside the ground and showcasing some of its biggest projects in the match day programme. Last year, this game was against Champions League finalists Liverpool FC.
In addition, Cherries striker Jermain Defoe visited BU to speak to students about his career and inspired students with stories of his time in football. Students studying at Bournemouth University have the opportunity to enter into a ballot for the chance to watch the Premier League team at each home game, with budding journalism students also afforded the opportunity to attend match days as press, gaining vital experience that will help with their future careers, while writing for university press and covering the Cherries.
This summer, BU and AFC Bournemouth hosted over 60 Chinese football coaches, who are all studying in Bournemouth gaining coaching qualifications, taught by BU, AFC Bournemouth and Dorset FA. This programme has run for three years, with the joint BU/AFC Bournemouth training the only one to have taken place three years in a row.
AFC Bournemouth’s first Premier League game of the season is against newly promoted Cardiff City FC on Saturday 11 August.