The 12th edition of the International Francesc Vila Memorial tournament took place in Andorra at the end of May.
While Spanish clubs dominated the results on the pitch, the real success story was the fun, fair play and enthusiasm shown by all of the youngsters involved in the event.
As in previous years, the tournament attracted youth teams from some of Europe's biggest clubs, with Real Madrid CF and Valencia CF among the Spanish contingent, SL Benfica representing Portugal, SK Slavia Praha from the Czech Republic and HNK Hajduk Split from Croatia all competing in the Under-9 and Under-11 categories. A local Andorran select team was also involved in the seven-a-side event.
The matches in the event, dedicated to the memory of former president of the Andorran Football Federation (FAF), Francesc Vila, all took place over two days at the Estadi Comunal d'Aixovall and the Estadi Ordino. Overall, 52 games were played in the qualification stages on the opening day of the competition with a further 16 for the final classifications on the second day.
Both finals were all-Spanish affairs with last season's champions in both age groups, Valencia, taking on CA Osasuna in the U11 competition and RCD Espanyol playing Athletic Club from Bilbao in the U9 finale. This year Valencia could not repeat their success as they lost out 2-0 to Osasuna, while Espanyol were convincing 5-0 winners against Athletic.
"The 12th edition of the tournament has been a great success for both players and spectators," Andrea Vidal Santin from the FAF told UEFA.com. "This year part of the event took place at the new stadium in Ordino and along with the games at the Estadi Comunal d'Aixovall the teams' sportsmanship and quality have been very distinguished."
Aside from the winning teams, individual prizes were also handed out to the best players and goalkeepers in both of the age categories. The U11 awards went to Miguel Pinto and Sasha Esparza of Osasuna, while the U9s to be recognised were Marc Rodriguez of Espanyol and Madrid's Carlos Sanchez. Meanwhile, Real Sporting de Gijón and Hadjuk were awarded fair play prizes. In 2004 the tournament was voted Most Valuable Grassroots Football Event by UEFA.
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