City unveil new training site

2011-09-19 18:20

London - Manchester City on Monday unveiled plans for a new multi-million pound youth training complex to be built next to the Etihad Stadium.

The 80-acre site, which would be linked to the Etihad Stadium via a new bridge, would be called the Etihad Campus and is designed as a home for City's academy, making them a Grade 1 facility under the Football Association's new Elite Player Performance Plan.

No club in England currently meets those standards.

The plans have been submitted to the local authorities and, subject to planning permission, would see on-site accommodation for 72 players, class-room facilities for 200, 16 pitches, offices and a state-of-the-art centre which would house changing rooms and rehab facility.

The site would also include a new 7 000 all-seater arena solely for the Premier League club's youth team.

"This could be the most important investment the club has ever made under its new ownership," said Brian Marwood, the club's chief football operations officer.

"This is part of a 10-year strategy for long-term sustainable success.

"Phase one culminated in the club winning the FA Cup and qualifying for the Champions League last season. This signals the beginning of the next phase.

"We know that youth development has to be at the heart of this club. Investment in the transfer market has helped us reach a certain level, to stay there will take investment in player development, welfare and top-class facilities.

"While new signings were making the headlines there were changes behind the scenes even in the early days."

Over the past three years, City have sent officials to Arsenal, Barcelona and Ajax, as well as bodies from outside of football including the New York Giants, LA Lakers, New York Knicks and the Australian Institute of Sport to look at their operations.

"We believe ours will become the world's best training facility," said Nick Smith, the project consultant who made most of the visits to other facilities.

The overall cost has yet to be clarified. City already own most of the land, much of which is polluted by past industries, and are in the process of cleaning it.

The club have also promised to provide 5.5 acres for community use, including a sixth form college, and contribute towards a new public swimming pool.