Manchester City confirm Etihad Stadium name change

08 July 2011 02:20

Manchester City have confirmed the City of Manchester Stadium at Eastlands will be renamed the Etihad Stadium after striking a 10-year partnership agreement with Etihad Airways.  

The stadium rebranding was just one of several commercial deals announced by City chief executive Garry Cook and James Hogan, chief executive of the airline.  

Cook said: 'We are delighted to be expanding our relationship with Etihad Airways through this comprehensive partnership agreement.  

Changing brand: Manchester City are set to rename their Eastlands ground the Etihad Stadium

Name game: The newly rebranded Etihad Stadium - home of Manchester City

'The partnership will not only cover a shirt sponsorship extension, but also the Etihad Stadium.

'The wider area around the stadium will be known as the Etihad Campus. There are other elements, such as media, business and community co-operation.

'It could be one of the most important arrangements in the history of world football.

'Most importantly, in addition to delivering significant revenue at a key stage in the club's evolution, the agreement creates exciting opportunities for our two organisations to co-operate more deeply commercially and on media and community initiatives in the future.'

Flying high: Manchester City stars pose with a special Etihad plane emblazoned with the club's name

Financial details of the deal were kept under wraps, but it is thought to be worth ?10m-12m a year over the next 10 years and is the most most lucrative deal in the club'shistory.

Concerns have been expressed over whether the deal might contravene UEFA's financial fair play guidelines, and City are likely to face an investigation.

Under the new rules, clubs have been warned about spending more than they earn and about sponsorship deals that may appear to be for inflated amounts. If it is felt a figure has been fixed to give income levels an artificial boost, UEFA could step in and take action.

At more than double the amount Arsenal received for naming rights at The Emirates Stadium, City's deal may well raise eyebrows and is sure to be looked into by the Premier League. Checks will be made to ensure Etihad's outlay can be justified and that UEFA's guidelines have not been breached.

Plane speaking: City chief Gary Cook (right) and Etihad Airway's James Hogan announce the deal

City have been exploring ways of generating extra revenue, to meet the criteria and enable their big spending to continue, and are delighted with the agreement they have struck with the United Arab Emirates' national airline.

Sinceacquiring City in September, 2008, Sheikh Mansour has ploughed close on?1billion into transforming their fortunes and competing on at least anequal footing with near rivals Manchester United.

The huge influx of cash has propelled City into this season's Champions League, in addition to ending a 35-year trophy drought in the FA Cup final in May.

Cook said: 'The partnership is about continuing to increase our investment in youth development, the scale and scope of our community programmes and continue to build our profile in major markets,' said Cook.

Back to work: Roberto Mancini oversees Manchester City training earlier this week

'The backdrop is UEFA's Financial Fair Play and this helps to make significant progress in that area. This is not just a wide-ranging agreement. It is a long-term commitment.'

It is understood City's heirarchy areunconcerned about any investigation by the Premier League or UEFA and confident they can satisfy all the fair play conditions. They will arguethat their increasingly high profile, and the exposure from worldwide media coverge, will equate to an acceptable return for Etihad's massive investment.

They could alsoclaim Arsenal may have undersold naming rights at Ashburton Grove, whenthey struck a ?100million-plus 15-year deal with Emirates in October, 2004. That figure included around ?48million for an eight-year shirt sponsorship agreement with Emirates and meant they were charging only around ?4million a year for the new ground to be named after the airline.

Feeling Blue: City will claim Arsenal have undersold naming rights at Ashburton Grove

City were always looking to go down the same path, after persuading Manchester City Council to let them sellnaming rights last year, and were in no doubt they could attract significantly higher bidders.

Theirnew agreement with a company who already sponsor their shirts to the tune of ?2.3million a year could prove telling in the new era of financial restraint, particularly after losses of almost ?120million last year.

Signed, sealed, delivered: Clichy arrived on a ?7m deal from Arsenal earlier this month

Such a deficit had to be addressed, and the announcement will be seen as a significant step towards being able to continue the sort of spending that has become commonplace at Eastlands in recent years.

They are hopeful of landing ?20m-rated Arsenal midfielder Samir Nasri, after already paying Partizan Belgrade ?6million for defender Stefan Savic and ?7m for Arsenal defender Gael Clichy.

Theyare also being strongly linked with a ?40m bid for Atletico Madrid frontrunner Sergio Aguero, also wanted by Real Madrid and Juventus.

Gunning for a move: Nasri could follow former Arsenal team-mate Clichy to Man City in a ?20m deal

City secured their first silverware in 35 years last season when they lifted the FA Cup. However, they also posted recorded losses of ?121.3m pounds. 

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Source: Daily_Mail