| LONDON, Sept 14
LONDON, Sept 14 Manchester City hope to start
producing more of their own young players at a new training
centre to be built by Dutch-owned construction firm BAM
next to the Etihad Stadium, home of the English
Premier League champions.
The first team will train at the City Football Academy which
will have 16 soccer pitches and also be able to host up to 400
The club confirmed on Friday that BAM would begin work on
the site in the coming weeks and that the project should be
ready for the 2014/15 season.
Financial details were not disclosed but the club is
believed to be investing in excess of 100 million pounds ($160
million) pounds in the venture.
It is part of City's efforts to reduce their reliance on the
deep pockets of Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a member of
Abu Dhabi's ruling family, who took over the club four years
"The development of young and home grown players is central
to our strategy of creating both a winning team and a
sustainable football club - an ambition outlined by Sheikh
Mansour at the outset of his ownership in September 2008," said
Ferran Soriano, Manchester City CEO.
Sheikh Mansour has spent an estimated 900 million pounds
($1.3 billion) on buying the club and signing players like Ivory
Coast's Yaya Toure and Spaniard David Silva.
He was rewarded in May when City pipped local rivals
Manchester United to win the league for the first time in 44
However, new rules introduced by European soccer's governing
body mean clubs must curb their losses or face exclusion from
competitions like the Champions League.
That puts an added premium on spotting and nurturing
talented young players rather than spending heavily to hire
A 7,000 capacity stadium for youth matches will be part of
the site, helping to give youngsters a taste of playing in front
City said the project would create at least 160 additional
construction jobs and 95 permanent positions would be available
to maintain and run the Academy in the east of the city.
A bridge will link the training ground to the Etihad
Stadium, built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games and which the
club moved into the following year.
($1 = 0.6211 British pounds)
(Editing by Hugh Lawson)