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Sunderland announce charity partnership

Sunderland have announced an 18-month partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation aimed at supporting global fundraising initiatives.

• Graham eyes Fletcher partnership

The Black Cats will begin fundraising during their match against Manchester United on March 30 in a bid to raise awareness of the charity which was set up by former South African president Nelson Mandela.

Sunderland vice-chairman David Miliband said the club was pleased to extend the work of the existing foundation at the Stadium of Light.

"We want to take his (Mandela's) message of reconciliation and social justice as far and as wide as possible," he told BBC Swahili TV. "It is a great validation of the community and charitable work we do."

Head of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Achmat Dangor, said the partnership would help spread Mandela's message to young people worldwide through the football club, Sunderland's own charitable foundation and charity work in Africa.

"It will give us an outreach we haven't got yet," Mr Dangor told the BBC. "We get many offers of partnerships but what Sunderland did was something unique and generous and unconditional, there was nothing like: 'Can you give us something in return?'"

Mr Dangor also said the Premier League club are obliged to help raise funds to sustain the organisation so that they can maintain "independence and live up to Nelson Mandela's ethos of inclusivity, reconciliation and social justice."

Sunderland's work in Africa started last year when the club agreed a deal with Invest in Africa, a group of companies formed to promote African business opportunities, to become the official shirt sponsor of the Black Cats.

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