NextGen Series (2011–13)
|Number of teams||24 (group stage)
|Last champions||Aston Villa|
The NextGen Series was a European football club cup competition for under-19 footballers. It was designed to provide players with the opportunity to match themselves against other elite European footballers of their agegroup in a competitive environment. The competition was created by sports TV producer Justin Andrews, Mark Warburton and current Brentford F.C. owner Matthew Benham.
On 16 August 2013, organisers confirmed that the NextGen Series had been suspended for the 2013–14 campaign because of funding issues and lacking of competitive space since the creation of UEFA Youth League.
Plans to create a European competition for youth footballers had long been explored. Ajax and Manchester City played a behind closed doors match in November 2010 as did Liverpool and Celtic. This was part of a trial scheme for the new competition.
|“||Our purpose is to try and develop a Champions League player and it will expose them to that and replicate what that’s like at first-team level. We are confident the players will gain experience which will be vital to them in terms of the style of play and the travelling. We can also offer players the opportunity of playing against the likes of Barcelona and Manchester City on the big stage and in stadia.||”|
The success of the NextGen Series caught the attention of the UEFA board and at end of 2012, the UEFA Youth League was created. The British media commented that the competition was formed to "limit the growing influence of the NextGen Series". A compromise deal was tabled by Andrews and Warburton, with the aim of combining the two tournaments and giving places to non-Champions League clubs with notable academies, but the proposal was rejected by UEFA. Another proposal, to run both leagues in tandem (with the winners meeting in the final), was also rejected.
Teams were picked for the first season of the tournament through invitation. The organisers selected 16 clubs, influenced by the quality of each club’s academy. The clubs picked for the 2011–12 tournament were:
For the 2011–12 tournament, the 16 teams were split into four groups of four, playing each other home and away. The top two teams from each group went through to a knockout stage. The Quarter-Finals were played over one leg at the home ground of the group winners. The Final was played at the Matchroom Stadium in London on Sunday 25 March 2012, with an attendance of 3,500. The 2013 Final was held at the Stadio Giuseppe Sinigaglia in Como, Italy on 1 April 2013.
The NextGen Series trophy was designed to celebrate and embody the pursuit of excellence in youth development and the future of football. The trophy was manufactured by UK-based awards manufacturer Gaudio and was handed to the tournament winners.
The teams participating in the NextGen series were limited to a squad size of no more than eighteen players. There was an age limit of 18 on players participating in the competition. However, each club had the option of including three players up to the age of 19, though only a maximum of two overage players were allowed to be on the pitch at any one time.
Match rules for the series, other than the age cap, were the same as those stipulated by the International Football Association Board, meaning that they were identical to those of most other international tournaments.
|Years||Host||Winners||Score||Runners-up||Third place||Score||Fourth place|
|Club||Winner||Runner-up||Winning Years||Runner-up Years|
- Jones, Simon (30 June 2011). "Young Villa face Ajax, Man City tackle Barcelona, Spurs take on Inter and Liverpool play Sporting in Euro League". Daily Mail. London.
- NextGen series cancelled amid funding shortage
- NextGen Statement - 16 August 2013
- "City help to pioneer junior Champions League". Manchester Evening News. 7 December 2010. Retrieved 22 June 2011.
- Jones, Simon (22 June 2011). "Q&A: You lowdown on the NextGen Series for the best kids in European football". London: Daily Mail. Retrieved 22 June 2011.
- "UEFA to launch U19 shadow Champions League from 2013 to curtail NextGen series". Daily Mail. London. 30 June 2012. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
- Jones, Simon (22 June 2011). "EXCLUSIVE: Now the top kids in Europe get a Champions League of their own". Daily Mail. London.
- "Juventus complete NextGen Series lineup as groups are revealed". NextGen. 4 June 2012.
- "Juventus Primavera involved in NextGen Series". juventus.com. 4 June 2012.
- "Gaudio Awards". Gaudio Awards. Retrieved 14 September 2012.
- "Terms & Conditions". The NextGen Series. Retrieved 24 August 2011.