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UEFA Youth League

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UEFA Youth League
Organising bodyUEFA
Founded2013; 11 years ago (2013)
Number of teams64
Qualifier forUnder-20 Intercontinental Cup
Current championsGreece Olympiacos (1st title)
Most successful club(s)Spain Barcelona
England Chelsea
(2 titles each)
2023–24 UEFA Youth League

The UEFA Youth League is an annual club football competition organised by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) since 2013. In its current format, it is contested by the youth teams of the clubs competing in the UEFA Champions League group stage, plus the domestic youth champions of the best-ranked national associations.

The semi-finals and final matches have been traditionally played at the Colovray Stadium in Nyon, Switzerland, although for the 2022–23 edition, they were moved to the Stade de Genève due to increased interest in the tournament from the supporters of the participating clubs.[1] The winners are awarded the Lennart Johansson Trophy, named in honour of the former UEFA president.

The most successful teams are Barcelona and Chelsea, with two titles each. Chelsea won back-to-back titles in 2015 and 2016, while Barcelona won the inaugural season of the competition and clinched their second trophy in 2018. The current champions are Olympiacos, who beat Milan 3–0 in the 2024 final.


In May 2010, UEFA organised a match, referred to as the "UEFA Under-18 Challenge", between the under-18 teams of Bayern Munich and Internazionale, three days prior to the UEFA Champions League Final between the respective senior sides. Internazionale won the match 2–0 with two goals from Denis Alibec. The match was part of "UEFA Grassroots Day", and acted as an inspiration for the UEFA Youth League.[2][3][4]

The teams in the first tournament, 2013–14 UEFA Youth League, played a group stage with the same composition and calendar as the 2013–14 UEFA Champions League group stage, and was held on a 'trial basis'.[4]

The eight group-winners and eight runners-up from group stage then participated in a knockout phase. Unlike the UEFA Champions League, the knockout phase had single-leg ties, with the semi-finals and final played at neutral venues.[4]

British media commented that the competition was formed to displace the NextGen Series.[5][6]

In April 2014, Barcelona became the first champion, beating Benfica by 3–0 in the final-four held in Nyon.

After a two-year trial period, the UEFA Youth League became a permanent UEFA competition starting from the 2015–16 season, with the tournament expanded from 32 to 64 teams to allow the youth domestic champions of the top 32 associations according to their UEFA country coefficients to also participate. The 32 UEFA Champions League group stage youth teams retain the group stage format, with the group winners advancing to the round of 16 and the runners-up advancing to the play-offs. The 32 youth domestic champions play two rounds of two-legged ties, with the eight winners advancing to the play-offs, where they play a single match at home against the Champions League path runners-up. The round of 16 onwards retain the same format of single-leg ties as before.[7]

From the 2024–25 season onwards, the format of the UEFA Youth League will change to accommodate the changes to be seen in the UEFA Champions League, with some differences:[8]

  • The new 36 team group stage for the Champions League path will only mirror the first 6 matchdays of the senior competition, with the top 22 teams making the knockout stage
  • The domestic champions path will be expanded to three rounds, with the remaining 10 clubs facing the teams ranked 7th to 16th in the group stage (The top 6 from the Champions League path will face the teams ranked 17th to 22nd)
  • The Youth League champions from the previous season qualify for the domestic champions path unless their senior team makes the Champions League group stage, in which case they will participate in the Champions League path


List of UEFA Youth League finals
Ed. Season Winners Score Runners-up Losing semi-finalists Venue
2013–14 Spain Barcelona 3–0 Portugal Benfica Spain Real Madrid and Germany Schalke 04 Colovray Stadium, Nyon, Switzerland
2014–15 England Chelsea 3–2 Ukraine Shakhtar Donetsk Belgium Anderlecht and Italy Roma Colovray Stadium, Nyon, Switzerland
2015–16 England Chelsea 2–1 France Paris Saint-Germain Belgium Anderlecht and Spain Real Madrid Colovray Stadium, Nyon, Switzerland
2016–17 Austria Red Bull Salzburg 2–1 Portugal Benfica Spain Barcelona and Spain Real Madrid Colovray Stadium, Nyon, Switzerland
2017–18 Spain Barcelona 3–0 England Chelsea England Manchester City and Portugal Porto Colovray Stadium, Nyon, Switzerland
2018–19 Portugal Porto 3–1 England Chelsea Spain Barcelona and Germany 1899 Hoffenheim Colovray Stadium, Nyon, Switzerland
2019–20 Spain Real Madrid 3–2 Portugal Benfica Netherlands Ajax and Austria Red Bull Salzburg Colovray Stadium, Nyon, Switzerland
2020–21 Cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe
2021–22 Portugal Benfica 6–0 Austria Red Bull Salzburg Spain Atlético Madrid and Italy Juventus Colovray Stadium, Nyon, Switzerland
2022–23 Netherlands AZ 5–0 Croatia Hajduk Split Italy Milan and Portugal Sporting CP Stade de Genève, Geneva, Switzerland
2023–24 Greece Olympiacos 3–0 Italy Milan France Nantes and Portugal Porto Colovray Stadium, Nyon, Switzerland


By club[edit]

List of winners by club
Club Titles Runners-up Years won Years runner-up
England Chelsea 2 2 2015, 2016 2018, 2019
Spain Barcelona 2 0 2014, 2018
Portugal Benfica 1 3 2022 2014, 2017, 2020
Austria Red Bull Salzburg 1 1 2017 2022
Portugal Porto 1 0 2019
Spain Real Madrid 1 0 2020
Netherlands AZ 1 0 2023
Greece Olympiacos 1 0 2024
Ukraine Shakhtar Donetsk 0 1 2015
France Paris Saint-Germain 0 1 2016
Croatia Hajduk Split 0 1 2023
Italy Milan 0 1 2024

By country[edit]

List of winners by country
Country Winners Runners-up Years won Years runner-up
 Spain 3 0 2014, 2018, 2020
 Portugal 2 3 2019, 2022 2014, 2017, 2020
 England 2 2 2015, 2016 2018, 2019
 Austria 1 1 2017 2022
 Netherlands 1 0 2023
 Greece 1 0 2024
 Ukraine 0 1 2015
 France 0 1 2016
 Croatia 0 1 2023
 Italy 0 1 2024


  1. ^ "UEFA Youth League finals moved to Stade de Genève | UEFA Youth League". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. 22 March 2023. Retrieved 23 April 2023.
  2. ^ "Young stars take centre stage". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. 18 May 2010. Archived from the original on 23 May 2010. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  3. ^ "Inter take Under-18 honours". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. 19 May 2010. Archived from the original on 23 May 2010. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  4. ^ a b c "UEFA Youth League club competition launched". UEFA.org. Union of European Football Associations. 7 December 2012. Archived from the original on 6 November 2013. Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  5. ^ Herbert, Ian (17 September 2013). "Comment: Brilliant NextGen series sadly sidelined in favour of Uefa Youth Cup". The Independent. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  6. ^ Twomey, Liam (14 April 2014). "NextGen eyes comeback as Uefa Youth League celebrates finale". goal.com. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  7. ^ "UEFA Youth League retained and expanded". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. 18 September 2014. Retrieved 24 April 2023.
  8. ^ "UEFA Youth League: New format from 2024/25". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. 28 June 2023. Retrieved 30 June 2023.

External links[edit]