• LONDON: NextGen Series organisers have announced the suspension of the prestigious European youth team tournament for the 2013-14 season after encountering financial problems.

NextGen was due to enter its third season in 2013-14, but organisers have struggled to raise the necessary funding for the new campaign. A NextGen statement read: “It is with regret that the NextGen Series has today announced it will be suspending the tournament for one season due to a lack of definite funding. Over the past two seasons NextGen has played a major part in the development of European football and has enjoyed great success with many NextGen players including Celtic’s Tony Watt, (Aston) Villa’s Gary Gardner and Ajax’s Viktor Fischer progressing to their first teams.”

NextGen included 24 top European clubs in 2012-13, with Aston Villa defeating English Premier League rival Chelsea 2-0 in last season’s final.

The co-founders of the NextGen Series, Mark Warburton and Justin Andrews, added: “The level of support we have received from the football industry, media and fans has been magnificent and for that we are truly grateful. It is hugely disappointing that an event of this nature, designed to assist with the development of Europe’s elite players, should have to take such action but we hope to be back next season.”

NextGen’s problems come after UEFA in December announced the launch of a new Under-19 club competition for the 2013-14 season, with the event set to have close ties to the Champions League. The UEFA Youth League is set to include the 32 clubs which qualify for the 2013-14 Champions League group stage.

A 96-game group stage will take place between September and December, with fixtures being played around or on the same dates as the Champions League at grounds in close proximity to the venues used for those matches where logistics allow. The draw for the inaugural season is set to be made alongside the Champions League draw on August 29.


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Monday, August 19, 2013

NextGen Series suspends 2013-14 season

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