21 Sep 2011

Man City eye up development programme

6:54 am on 21 September 2011

Big-spending English football club Manchester City aims to develop home-grown talent as they seek to conform to European financial fair play rules and submitted plans for a training centre they believe will be the best in the world.

Since being taken over by Sheikh Mansour three years ago, City have spent more than 600 million pounds ($NZ 1.15 million) on building a team that is among the favourites for the Premier League title.

The club says that level of spending is unsustainable in the long-term though, and would also be difficult under European governing body UEFA's new financial fair play rules that aim to stop reckless spending on wages and transfer fees.

The rules say spending cannot exceed revenue from TV rights, gate receipts, competition prize money and sponsorship.

Clubs that do not conform face expulsion from European competition.

Having just embarked on their first campaign in the elite Champions League, the last thing City want is to fall foul of those rules.

Meanwhile City believe the proposed training complex near their Etihad Stadium will be better than those such as AC Milan's renowned Milanello and will produce top players for club and country.

Spending on infrastructure and youth development do not count as expenditure under the regulations.

City could not give details of the cost of the project which includes a 7,000-seater stadium for youth matches, 15 full-size pitches and accommodation on an 80-acre site.

Project consultant Nick Smith, who says City had done their research at clubs like Barcelona and Arsenal as well as training centres for non-soccer clubs such as the LA Lakers and New York Giants, added it would be "the world's best training facility."