Manchester City Football Club have announced a public consulation on a new youth development and training facility, including a 7,000-seat stadium for youth matches, planned as part of a world-record sponsorship with Etihad.
Earlier this month the airline committed to an investment into the club reportedly worth as much as £400 million over the next ten years. As well as securing the club's shirt sponsorship and the naming rights to what will be known as the Etihad Stadium, the deal included the development of up to 80 acres of brownfield land opposite the ground.
City are owned by the ruling family of Abu Dhabi, and have made headlines with a number of major transfer deals in recent years. The new development, however, will have a major focus on the club's development of its own players.
'In addition to recruiting and developing top-level senior professional players, the club recognises the need to secure long term sustainability by investing in youth talent,' said a statement from Manchester City. 'The existing academy, which since its inception has produced an unprecedented 30 players who have appeared for the first team, has reached its practical limits.'
City plan to build a new academy 'for up to 400 young players with classrooms for 200', alongside the 7,000-seat venue for youth games. 16 additional pitches will be built, with 12 dedicated to youth players, as well as a 'state of the art first team building with changing rooms, gym, refectory and injury and rehab centre.'
The club also noted that 160 construction jobs would be created, with an additional90 permanent positions on completion of the complex.
"Manchester City’s ambition is to be a successful and sustainable football club and youth recruitment and development through a top class facility is a key component of that ambition," said Garry Cook, Manchester City's chief executive. "Our research to date has been painstaking and our planning comprehensive and whilst our plans would inevitably have a positive impact on both our young and established playing talent, the regenerative and economic impact for our community should not be underestimated. We welcome the views of all of the communities we serve as we seek to gain planning permission for this most exciting of proposals."
Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: "The partnership between Manchester City Football Club, the Council and New East Manchester would accelerate the regeneration of the area, delivering significant community and economic benefits. This new facility would help us continue to improve education and skills and will create jobs and other opportunities for local residents as well as being a further example of the club's investment in the area.
"It would be complementary to other proposed developments in the area, which would combine together to fulfil our vision for East Manchester as a centre for elite sport."