By David Owen

It is hoped the Manchester United Soccer School will help children who study there contribute to the future of football in Azerbaijan ©Getty ImagesAzerbaijan has teamed up with one of the world's best-known football clubs, Manchester United, to help develop grass-roots football in the country.

In an initiative supported by both the Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan (AFFA) and Bakcell, the Azerbaijani mobile operator, a Manchester United Soccer School is being launched in Baku, the Azerbaijan capital.

Rovnag Abdullayev, AFFA's President, described the move as a "pivotal event in the country's footballing history".

He said he hoped the school would have "a positive effect in a short time-span", and that children who study there "will be able to contribute to the future of Azerbaijani football".

Azerbaijan currently lies 73rd in the FIFA rankings, just below Bulgaria, with whom it is bracketed in Group H of Euro 2016 qualifying, along with Croatia, Italy, Malta and Norway.

Baku is set to host next year's inaugural European Games from June 12 to 28, with beach soccer among the sports included.

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