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Picture of the day: City of Manchester Stadium first opened

Picture of the day: City of Manchester Stadium first opened
© Reuters
Manchester City took over the venue in 2003 on a 250-year lease.

Built prior to failed British bids for the 1996 and 2000 Summer Olympics, the City of Manchester Stadium was first opened to the public when the city hosted the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

Despite protests from athletics greats Jonathan Edwards and Sebastian Coe, the arena was converted to a football stadium, with the seating amended and the running track removed.

Signing a 250-year agreement, Manchester City then began leasing the stadium from the council, playing their first games there at the beginning of the 2003-04 season.

After the club changed hands in 2008 and became one of the wealthiest sporting clubs in the world, the stadium was expanded and improved in various phases to increase the capacity to over 55,000.

In 2010, the club's lease on the stadium was renegotiated to include naming rights in return for an increased rent.

The venue was renamed the Etihad Stadium in 2011 to reflect the club's 10-year deal with kit sponsors Etihad Airways.

Further developments were proposed in 2018, with the club consulting season ticket holders about expansion plans that could increase the stadium's capacity to 63,000, potentially making it the nation's third largest club ground behind Old Trafford and the London Stadium.

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