Man City plan more investment close to home

Updated: 2011-09-20 15:51


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Man City plan more investment close to home

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini reacts during their English Premier League soccer match against Fulham at Craven Cottage in London, Sept 18, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]

MANCHESTER, England - Big-spending Manchester City aim to develop home-grown talent as they seek to conform to European financial fair play rules and submitted plans on Monday 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 ($947 million) on building a team that is among the favourites for the Premier League title.

That level of spending is unsustainable in the long-term though, the club says, 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.

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.

"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," chief football operations officer Brian Marwood told reporters.

"Everybody is getting quite concerned about financial fair play, it's not just us. We are quite comfortable in terms of the work we have done to date, we know we still have a huge amount of work still to do before we conform.

"This is part of that process - develop your own home-

grown talent is a big part of what we do."

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

Man City plan more investment close to home

Manchester City's Sergio Aguero (bottom) celebrates his second goal against Fulham with Edin Dzeko during their English Premier League soccer match at Craven Cottage in London, Sept 18, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]

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.

It submitted the plans to the city council on Monday and said it expected to get a decision by the end of the year. The club is hopeful of getting the green light as the project includes commitments to providing community facilities.

Project consultant Nick Smith, who said 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."