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Seahawks Stadium Scores World-Class Soccer; Manchester United Kicks Off U.S. Tour in Seattle.

Business Editors, Sports Writers

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 9, 2002

Northwest soccer fans will soon be front and center on the international soccer stage when English Premier League powerhouse, Manchester United, takes on Scottish League Champion Celtic FC in an exhibition match at Seahawks Stadium on July 22, 2003.

Kicking off a whirlwind four-city U.S. exhibition tour, Seattle's Seahawks Stadium is the first stop for the famed "Red Devils" of England. Following the match in Seattle, Manchester United will travel to Los Angeles, Philadelphia and New York/New Jersey. The tour is designed to help Manchester United's first team squad prepare for the new English Premier League season in August.

Built as both a state-of-the-art football and soccer venue, Seahawks Stadium features superior amenities for world-class soccer. The stadium meets NFL, MLS and World Cup Soccer field and sight line requirements, provides separate locker rooms for soccer and includes camera-well locations designed for optimal television coverage of the sport.

"Not only are we delivering on the dream of bringing world-class soccer to Seattle, we're hosting two of the world's most popular and most successful soccer teams," said Bob Whitsitt, president of First & Goal Inc., the stadium's operator. "Being selected as one of only four U.S. cities to host Manchester United shows that Seahawks Stadium is recognized by the international community as one of the best stadiums in the world."

To accommodate the desire to play on natural grass, First & Goal will install grass over the permanent playing surface, which is FieldTurf(TM). As part of the terms of the agreement to install FieldTurf, First & Goal agreed to these temporary conversions if necessary to secure international soccer matches.

"Northwest soccer fans have waited a long, long time for this dream to come true," said Fred Mendoza, vice chair of the Public Stadium Authority. "Our fans have great knowledge of and passion for the game, and will love watching this world-class soccer event in our own world-class venue."

Tickets for the Manchester United vs. Celtic exhibition game go on sale March 15. Tickets may be purchased at the Seahawks Stadium ticket office, or may be purchased through Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.com, or by phone at 206/628-0888. For further information on the tour, fans can call a toll-free hotline at 888/806-0805, and can consult the ChampionsWorld website at www.championsworld.com.

About Seahawks Stadium

Seahawks Stadium is a world-class, premier sporting facility and home to the Seattle Seahawks. The Seattle Sounders will also call Seahawks Stadium their home for the upcoming 2003 season. To learn more about Seahawks Stadium and Exhibition Center, visit www.seahawksstadium.com.

About Manchester United

Coached by the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United is one of the greatest teams in the history of soccer, having won 14 English championships and 10 Football Association Cups. It has also won the European Cup, the sport's most prestigious club competition, on two occasions, most recently in 1999 when Manchester United completed a historic "treble" of the Premier League title, the Football Association Cup and the European Cup.

The team boasts nine players who have played in one or both of the last two World Cups, including David Beckham, perhaps the most famous player in the world. Alongside the England captain, some of Manchester United's other international superstars include Paul Scholes, Rio Ferdinand, Nicky Butt and Gary Neville (England), Fabien Barthez, Mikael Silvestre and Laurent Blanc (France), Roy Keane (Ireland), Juan Sebastian Veron (Argentina), Ryan Giggs (Wales), Ruud van Nistelrooy (Holland), Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Norway) and Quinton Fortune (South Africa).

About Celtic

Celtic FC is the reigning Scottish Premier League Champion (2001-02), Scottish Cup holder (2001) and Scottish League Cup Holder (2001), and currently leads the Scottish Premier League in the 2002-03 season, winning 16 of its 18 matches. Celtic has won 38 Scottish League Championships, 31 Scottish Cups and 12 Scottish League Cups in its storied history dating back to 1888. Celtic has four players on the Top Goal Scorers list in the Scottish Premier League this season, with Henrik Larsson leading the pack with 19 goals.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Dec 9, 2002
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