The Value Of Renaming St James' Park?
Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre has become the latest figure to question Manchester City's record £400million sponsorship deal with Etihad Airlines. He says: "Mike Ashley tried it at Newcastle [sportsdirect.com@St James' Park]. But nobody calls it that." The contract includes naming rights for Eastlands, a major input into a yet-to-be-built training facility close to the stadium and an extension of their shirt sponsorship. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger earlier this week claimed the deal "raises the real question about the credibility of Financial Fair Play", and Ayre has now added his voice to the chorus of disapproval. Ayre: "Is Etihad, Manchester City and Sheikh Mansour a related party? If they are, then it's up to UEFA to rule on them. "When I spoke at Soccerex earlier this year, I was on a panel about financial fair play. The guys from UEFA who are managing it said there would be a robust and proper process about related-party transactions." "The stadium name change hasn't happened anywhere in Europe, where a football club has renamed its existing stadium and it's had real value. "It was called the City of Manchester Stadium or Eastlands for the last nine years and now it's going to be called something else - and someone has attached a huge amount of value to that. "I find that odd because there is no benchmark in football that says you can rename your stadium and generate that amount of value. Mike Ashley tried it at Newcastle [sportsdirect.com@St James' Park]. But nobody calls it that and it doesn't have that kind of value."
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