UCFB secures Manchester City Etihad deal

The Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City
The Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City

Bosses at Burnley’s burgeoning UCFB college of football business have promised to retain a presence in the town after an ambitious deal was announced for its degree students to study at Manchester City’s Etihad stadium.

The transfer of students to Manchester from next year will, however, raise questions over the futures of Burnley’s Keirby and Sparrow Hawk hotels, currently being used as halls of residence by students.

Keirby Hotel.

Keirby Hotel.

A spokesman for UCFB confirmed that a long-term lease with the two hotels would remain, although they could be used for teaching rather than accommodation in the future.

UCFB, the world’s first institution to deliver university degrees in the football, sport and leisure industries, has grown rapidly in the four years since it was set up in Burnley.

The Etihad agreement will see Manchester City’s huge sports complex become the third campus for UCFB following a similar agreement with Wembley Stadium.

UCFB director and former Burnley Football Club co-chairman John Banaszkiewicz admitted the lure of Manchester was too good an opportunity to turn down, but promised that UCFB would retain a presence, albeit reduced, in Burnley.

When UCFB started four years ago we had 56 students. Now we have more than 1,000 and we are starting to establish links around the world

John Banaszkiewicz

He said: “When UCFB started four years ago we had 56 students. Now we have more than 1,000 and we are starting to establish links around the world.

“The location and facilities of the Etihad was a big factor. Manchester is a big student city and the facilities at the Etihad complex are some of the best in the world.

“We have not forgotten Burnley though. We intend to hold pre-degree courses at Turf Moor and are in talks with Nelson and Colne College to provide BTEC courses for younger students.

“There will still be lots of opportunities at Turf Moor and Gawthorpe (Burnley Football Club’s training facility) including short seminars, as well as outreach programmes with BFC in the Community.”

HALLS: The former Sparrowhawk Hotel

HALLS: The former Sparrowhawk Hotel

Such is the growth in UCFB’s stature, the institution recently agreed the UK’s first ever higher education partnership with the Real Madrid Graduate School, which will see UCFB postgraduate students spend time in Madrid as part of their degree programme.

Following the graduation of its first two classes of students, 90% of UCFB alumni are in full-time employment, with two in three of those graduates working within the highly competitive sports industry.

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