Today, on World Water Day, global water technology company Xylem teams up with City Football Group’s global foundation programme, Cityzens Giving, to empower a network of 100 Young Leaders to deliver innovative projects that will use football to provide vital water education to 5,000 young people in five cities around the world. The Water Heroes Academy combines seed funding, educational tools, training and mentoring from Xylem and Cityzens Giving, giving participants all they need to create their own unique programmes.

Over the next twelve months, the youth-led projects - located in Mumbai, Sao Paulo, New York, Cape Town and Shanghai - will provide essential education on water, sanitation and hygiene through specially adapted football games. In addition, young leaders will identify a water challenge specific to their city and creatively use the power of football to educate young people on this issue.

The programme kicked off with a global Water & Football Summit, digitally connecting the 100 young leaders from NGO partners around the world for a series of live interactive discussions on how to use football to solve water challenges. The young leaders had the opportunity to hear from Xylem and City Football experts on topics including water access, creating water-resilient communities, using football as an education tool, and the power of storytelling, to enhance their understanding and inspire them with ideas to take back to their communities.

This new initiative builds on Xylem’s continued support of Cityzens Giving projects in Bangalore, India and Cape Coast, Ghana which have engaged over 11,800 young people since 2018 with football-based education on hand hygiene and preventing the spread of germs, combined with clean water filtration towers to increase access to safe water and reduce the risk of illness faced by children in disadvantaged communities.

Mumbai is one of the most densely populated cities in the world. Over-populated communities face issues around basic hygiene and water pollution. Poor personal hygiene and awareness affect children with water-borne diseases leading to absenteeism from school. The project in Mumbai, with the support of the Magic Bus India Foundation, will use the power of football to embed an understanding amongst children on the importance of washing hands, safe drinking water, preventing the spread of germs and maintaining personal hygiene.

Varsha, a Young Leader from Magic Bus India Foundation in Mumbai, said: “The Summit gave me an amazing opportunity to interact with water and football experts as well as other young leaders from around the world. I learnt how to use football as a medium to teach children about the importance of water, hygiene and sanitation, and how we can use water wisely to protect the resource for future generations. We are coming together from all parts of the world to join hands to tackle water issues. I am looking forward to taking the learnings back to my community in Mumbai”.

Tom Pitchon, Director of City Football Groups’ global foundation said: “Football is much more than a game. It’s a language to build trust with young people and communicate around a whole range of topics, including how to protect our health and our planet through water hygiene and conservation. We’re delighted to launch the Water Heroes Academy with Xylem, blending the expertise of both organisations over the next twelve months to deliver life-changing impact for young people across the globe.”

Joseph Vesey, Xylem’s Chief Marketing Officer, commented: “Solving the world’s biggest water challenges is Xylem’s purpose, and this programme helps motivated young people lead on solutions for their own communities, but with the big advantage of a global network of innovators. Xylem partners with Manchester City, around the world, in large part because of shared values: a company changing the world through water, and a team changing the world through football. The Water Heroes Academy is a team effort, focusing the joy and power of football to engage a generation of young people to lead their communities in addressing vital water challenges.”

Through their partnership with Manchester City, New York City FC, and Mumbai City FC, Xylem aims to raise awareness about pressing global water challenges and solutions. Their latest campaign, ‘Be a Water Hero’ aims to engage the next generation of water advocates and calls on football fans to consider the impact that excessive water use can have on society and our environment.

City Football Group is currently providing advisory services to Mumbai City FC and has entered into an agreement to acquire a majority investment in Mumbai City FC. The purchase is awaiting final approvals.

Find out more on how you can get involved and ‘Be a Water Hero’ -

About Cityzens Giving

Cityzens Giving is an award-winning programme supporting youth-led community football projects across the globe together with our fans, staff and partners. 

Projects are run by young people for people with support and administrative oversight from vetted registered charity partners across the globe. In addition to long-term funding, young leaders access training in community football and leadership from Club community coaches and networking opportunities with other projects worldwide. This includes face to face training in country (when conditions permit), remote support, and regular global forums to support the exchange of learning.  Since the launch of Cityzens Giving in 2014, over 1000 Young Leaders have been trained with over 10,000 young people across 20 cities now participating in the projects, which use football to tackle pressing local issues from obesity and educational attainment to gang violence, water hygiene and employability to name a few. More information on our global projects can be accessed here:

Most recently, the Club launched a global ‘Cityzens Giving for Recovery’ campaign to help communities in all CFG Club territories get back on their feet in the wake of the pandemic.

For more information on our recovery efforts please visit    

About Mumbai City FC

Mumbai City FC is Mumbai’s club in the Hero Indian Super League.

The team’s logo is a reflection of a resilient fortress that stands proudly, surrounding the logo that signifies the unrelenting, determined spirit of the city. The seven stars symbolise the islands that form Mumbai, giving the club the apt nickname of The Islanders. Trains that are the very lifeline of the city ply millions of Mumbaikars across its vast expanse and connect these islands. Each passenger, each citizen of the city, is bound together by their love for the place they call home. 20 million citizens, 20 million hearts pulse to a single beat - the heartbeat of Mumbai.

City Football Group is currently providing advisory services to the Club. CFG has entered into an agreement to acquire a majority investment in Mumbai City FC. The purchase is awaiting final approvals.

About Xylem

Xylem (XYL) is a leading global water technology company committed to solving critical water and infrastructure challenges with innovation. Our more than 16,000 diverse employees delivered revenue of $4.88 billion in 2020. We are creating a more sustainable world by enabling our customers to optimize water and resource management, and helping communities in more than 150 countries become water-secure. Join us at

About City Football Group 

Established in May 2013, City Football Group is the world’s leading private owner and operator of football clubs, with total or partial ownership of eleven clubs in major cities across the world: Premier League Champions Manchester City in the UK, New York City FC in the US, Melbourne FC in Australia, Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan, Montevideo City Torque in Uruguay, Girona Futbol Club in Spain, Sichuan Jiuniu FC in China, Mumbai City FC in India, Lommel SK in Belgium, ESTAC in France and partner Club, Club Bolivar. With 13 offices around the world, CFG also invests in other football related businesses and projects and serves as a global commercial platform for its partners, whilst fulfilling its vision of using football for social good on a local and global scale through its clubs’ charities, foundations and other CSR initiatives.  

Abu Dhabi United Group, the investment vehicle owned by His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is the majority CFG shareholder (c.77%).  In addition, c.12% of CFG equity is held by a consortium of Chinese institutional investors led by China’s leading media and entertainment conglomerate CMC Inc. A further c.10% is owned by Silver Lake, a global leader in technology investing.