Manchester City Football Club has announced plans to redevelop the area around its stadium after signing a £1 billion agreement with the local council.

The regeneration plans will transform Eastlands, the current home of City, to a 60,000-seater stadium and a create world class sports and leisure complex.

It will make the stadium the fourth largest in England behind Wembley, Old Trafford and the Emirates.

The plans follow a 14 month exhaustive study of top sporting facilities around the World and include building a world-class training complex to rival AC Milan's Milanello.

It is the next step in Sheikh Mansour's transformation of the Blues who is eager for the club to establish themselves on the world stage.

Mansour, a member of Abu Dhabi's royal family bought the Premier League club in September 2008 and has already invested nearly £400 million mostly on players.

City has formed a unique partnership with the council and regeneration chiefs at New East Manchester to deliver the huge project, underlining the Sheikh's long-term commitment to the area.

Leader of Manchester City Council, Sir Richard Leese said: “The collective strength of the Council and the Club, two very ambitious partners, will be the engine of economic growth and will build on the regeneration work already in evidence in the area.“

From the securing of the Metrolink tram system to the building of world class sporting facilities in and around Sportcity, there has already been real vision in creating a sustainable future for east Manchester.

“The City of Manchester Stadium has also been a credit to the city and this further investment will enable local people who can work to work, will give our young people the best possible start in life and will make east Manchester a place in which to work, invest, live and visit.”

The agreement builds on the sports legacy from the Commonwealth Games, which provided various arenas including the Velodrome, the City of Manchester Stadium and also the world’s first indoor BMX arena.

The Blues' Chief Executive, Garry Cook told the club website: “Manchester City has been and always will be at the heart of the community it serves in the City of Manchester. The longer term considerations for the area reflect the long term commitment of our owners to the club and the community it serves.”

Posted on 12/03/2010