Mumbai, Feb 17 (IANS) The Premier League and the Indian Super League (ISL) are bringing the second edition of the Youth Games here starting on February 24.
This year’s event, titled Next Generation Mumbai Cup, is supported by Star Sports and will see three Premier League Under-14 sides – Chelsea FC, Manchester United FC and Southampton FC – travel to India for the first time to play against three Under-15 Indian Youth sides: Bengaluru FC, FC Goa and the Reliance Foundation Young Champs academy.
This competitive tournament will take place at the Reliance Corporate Park, Navi Mumbai over five days alongside a varied programme of activities.
The Premier League’s record goalscorer and ambassador Alan Shearer will join Bollywood star and Premier League ambassador Ranveer Singh to meet and support the young players during the event.
Nita Ambani, Chairperson Reliance Foundation and FSDL – the organisers of ISL, will along with Premier League CEO Richard Masters, attend the final day event on Friday, February 28.
Representatives from the Premier League, Chelsea FC, Manchester United FC and Southampton FC will work with 75 ISL coaches, local coaches and referees from across India to lead workshops, offer training and run development forums.
A new Mutual Cooperation Agreement between the ISL and Premier League will be signed to reaffirm the commitment by both organisations to continue to grow the game within schools and communities in India and to ensure continued professional development of ISL coaches, referees and young players.
FSDL Chairperson Nita Ambani said: “I am delighted to see the Premier League’s continued and growing interest in our Indian Super League. Youth development has been at the core of ISL and we are excited that 2020 will see our first batch of Reliance Foundation Young Champs graduate into professional football. The journey we had envisaged in 2014 has taken a giant stride today, towards creating a viable football ecosystem in India.
“I am sure our talented children from BFC, FC Goa, and RFYC will benefit immensely by playing with Chelsea FC, Manchester United FC and Southampton FC youth teams. I welcome all the visiting players and coaches to experience our country’s rich culture and warm hospitality, as we strengthen our bond through the ‘beautiful game’.”
Premier League Chief Executive Masters said: “We have an excellent longstanding relationship with the ISL and this week of activity will undoubtedly provide a fantastic opportunity for all young players and coaches involved. It is not just about the on-pitch activities but also the wider cultural and educational experiences, which are hugely beneficial to the players.”
Shearer, who scored 260 goals in the Premier League playing for clubs including Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United, will be meeting with players and coaches to offer expertise and support.
“I am looking forward to returning to Mumbai and meeting the youth players and coaches participating in the tournament. I have seen first-hand the passion for football in India, not just by fans watching the game but also those participating – I was put through my paces by young players during my last trip to Mumbai. I wish all those taking part in the tournament good luck and I look forward to seeing the teams in action,” he said