Manchester United has distributed more than 30,000 tickets to local children through a community ticketing initiative for the 2019-20 season.

The Premier League club’s programme gives groups of children under the age of 16 free tickets in a move designed to make games more accessible.

Schools, local football teams and other youth organisations have been among the hundreds of groups that have successfully applied for tickets.

Collette Roche, chief operating officer, said: “We are committed to helping younger fans watch live, affordable football. This is part of our efforts to help create a consistently vibrant atmosphere at Old Trafford and encourage our next generation of match-goers.

“While the stadium is sold out for the vast majority of games we feel that it is important to seize these rare opportunities to widen access and give back to our local community.

“The feedback that we have received on this grassroots ticketing promotion has been terrific. It’s put a smile on a lot of kids’ faces, many of whom will have visited Old Trafford for the first time.

“We welcome each and every one of them to the Manchester United family.”

The initiative has been in place for Manchester United’s matches against Rochdale and Colchester United in the Carabao Cup, and Astana, Partizan Belgrade and AZ Alkmaar in the Europa League.