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Under-19 version of Uefa’s Champions League?

By Tony Attwood

A year ago I was getting rather excited about the idea of an under 19 Euro Champions League.  The idea had been kicking around for a while, and it looked as if it would come to fruition this time, with Arsenal as part of it.

In fact part of that was true – it did happen, but Arsenal didn’t take part.

Teams from England, the Netherlands, Norway, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Scotland, Switzerland, Turkey and Portugal all played, but there was no TV deal, and no real publicity.  The games happened, but not that many noticed – not even of the clubs that took part.  Ajax won it, and a number of young players got themselves good transfers, earning some of the smaller clubs good money in moving their talent on.

Now there is talk of a second season.  Barca were there last season, along with Liverpool, Aston Villa and Tottenham, and all those clubs have agreed to do it again.  Man City were in it but lost all six games they played – which perhaps gives an indication of where they are in terms of youth development.   Like Chelsea I think they are finding it hard to develop a youth academy system of substance at the same time as buy in multi-million pounds worth of players for the first team.

But new names are being knocked around to join the tournament next season including Arsenal, Chelsea, Milan, Paris Saint-German, and Real Madrid – with the aim to have 24 teams.   Once again there is talk of a TV deal.

The aim is to have something that mirrors the Champions League with group stages and a knock out tournament at the end.  It is a real shame that Arsenal’s youth team didn’t get a chance in it this season since they are currently top of their Academy League – but got knocked out in the third round of the Youth Cup in England this year.

As with all these competitions there has to be some squad rules (18 players in a team, with 15 of those under the age of 18, with the other three being a year older but only two of those can be on the pitch at the same time).   Games have to be played in public either in the main stadium or a lower league nearby ground.  (Only a few Arsenal reserve games are played in public, and none of the youth games are).

There is a bit more on http://www.nextgenseries.com/en  but apart from watching Liverpool getting hammered six nil the site is a bit lacking – not least in details of next season’s series.   But let’s hope, if it does get going properly, Arsenal might be there.

Untold Arsenal

Arsenal History Society

9 comments to Under-19 version of Uefa’s Champions League?

  • Arvind

    Oh very interesting. I’m sure we’ll have a shout if we participate..and it’ll be so much fun matching our youth academies against those worldwide. In fact it’ll be the teams with the famed youth academies like Ajax or maybe Southampton or (please insert) that will win. As these are the teams that actually have the talent from the start…before those players get bought eventually.

  • mlsa

    Nextgenseries?? Inter won it on penalties against Ajax.. And the Spud withdrawn from the tournament due to breach of rule..

  • legolas still trust Wenger

    it would be an amazing idea we can watch our youth players 😀

  • Kentetsu

    Inter Milan won the U-19 Champions League. They beat Ajax on penalties in the final.

    I followed it a bit in the later stages of the competition and had good hopes Ajax would win it. Especially after the spanking they gave Liverpool. Pity they lost on penalties.

  • The Don

    this would be a great idea.

    this would give young players a chance to shine.

    and for fans to see players at a young age.

    it would of been nice
    if we could of seen messi, ronaldo at a young age playing on tv.

  • rusty

    In the same way I think many agree that the Champions League providers a better quality of play than most national team tournaments, this would be a great event. Would love to see young players actually getting to play in tactical systems they’re familiar with, with teammates they’ve played with before.

  • GiantGooner

    The negative spin on this, and the reason Arsenal didn’t participate this year, was fear that other clubs would scout this series and try to poach our best youngsters

  • bob

    The Don,
    Did Fergie lend you his name?

  • GoingGoingGooner

    Could we do it without any involvement from UEFA?