Details of a new Champions League style youth tournament have been revealed.
The tournament, dubbed “The Next Generation League,” has been very secretive about final details.
Organisers Cycad Sports Management plan for the full tournament details to be released in a fortnight’s time but some clubs are already being leaked.
Celtic, Barcelona, Marseille and Manchester City are all rumoured to play against each other in one group. Sporting, Liverpool, Rosenborg, Spurs, Chelsea, AC Milan, Juventus, Bayern Munich and Ajax are amongst the 13 out of 16 teams that are strongly rumoured to be participating.
The tournament will see a similar format to the Champions League in which the sixteen teams will be divided into groups of four, with the top two sides progressing from each group. They will then play in a televised final tournament held in Abu Dhabi in January.
The Next Generation League aims to put the best under-19 sides in Europe against each other in order to produce more quality talent for the future.
There are also plans to extend the tournament to 24 teams the following season with Arsenal keen to get on board.
Chris McCart, head of youth at Celtic Park has commented on the tournament and is in no doubt of the magnitude of the challenge that awaits his side. “Barcelona have got such a strong brand name, Manchester City are perhaps the richest club in the world, and Marseille have got an excellent system, so three of the four have already won the European Cup in their history,” he said. “I don’t think any of the groups will be stronger than ours. But our main purpose is to develop Champions League players and this event replicates exactly the same process that first-team players will go through. We can also offer players the opportunity of playing against the likes of Barcelona and Manchester City on the big stage and in big stadia, so it’s excellent from our recruitment point of view too. We have signed up to it for the next three years and we are really excited about it.”
The Youth Radar aims to produce the best coverage on this revolutionary tournament in the coming weeks, so keep watch!