Man City sells naming rights to Etihad

Manchester City Football Club has sold the naming rights of the City of Manchester Stadium to Abu Dhabi's Etihad Air, according to business news publication Bloomberg.

The report said the club's owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan will sign the richest sponsorship agreement in its history with Etihad Airways, the Gulf state's Government-owned airline.

Etihad currently contributes £2.3m a year as the team's shirt sponsor.

Sheikh Mansour, who has spent almost £630m since acquiring Manchester City in September 2008, and the club are trying to increase its revenue in an effort to meet new criteria being established by European football's governing body, UEFA.

Under the UEFA rules, clubs that can't keep costs and income at an acceptable level face being banned from the elite competition in Europe, the Champions League, which Manchester City will compete in for the first time this season after finishing third in the Premier League in the 2010/2011 season.

The club negotiated with Manchester City Council last October to allow it to sell the naming rights of the stadium.

Manchester City moved from its Maine Road ground in Moss Side to the City of Manchester stadium the year after the Commonwealth Games in 2002.

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