Manchester United has opened Old Trafford to health services to use as a training centre for the coronavirus vaccination programme.
Four hospitality suites at the famous stadium will be used as “a large-scale training facility” over the coming five weekends, the club said.
United do not play a home match on a Saturday or Sunday until February 21, when they host Newcastle United.
Staff from the United Kingdom’s St John Ambulance service will train hundreds of volunteers to administer COVID-19 vaccines, who will then “step into the frontline” as part of the national vaccination drive led by the National Health Service (NHS).
United’s own staff will be offered the chance to volunteer for the scheme, with those trained at Old Trafford to deliver vaccines across the Greater Manchester area.
Collette Roche, the club’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “Old Trafford is an iconic location which will inspire the volunteers who are involved in this historic programme.
“The suites, parking, access and our dedicated events team can be valuable assets to this national effort to tackle COVID-19. We are proud to open our doors to St John Ambulance and welcome everyone involved in what is an inspirational project.
“We recognise that our local community will be feeling the effects of the pandemic for some time and we remain committed to using our resources to support the response to this public health emergency and its social impacts.”
The UK has recorded more than 3.5million cases of COVID-19, with more than 95,000 people dying after testing positive for the virus.
Greater Manchester has been hard hit by the pandemic, with varying levels of restrictions on the city and nine surrounding boroughs having mostly been in place since late last July.
Figures released on January 21 suggested the region had slipped below the national average for new infections, with rates continuing to fall.