Two school football teams from Japan can look forward to a trip to London for the UEFA Champions League final after winning an adidas-backed five-a-side competition.
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Two teams of students from Japan will travel to London for this season's UEFA Champions League final as a reward for winning an adidas-sponsored junior football tournament in their homeland.
Ryutsu Keizaidai Kashiwa High School and J Field Okayama triumphed in the Japanese qualifiers for the adidas-backed UEFA Young Champions 2013 competition which were held on 1 and 4 April respectively in Osaka City (western Japan) and Marinos Town, Kanagawa Prefecture (eastern Japan).
Twenty-four sides per area contested 5-a-side matches for the right to win tickets to the Wembley showpiece – which takes place on 25 May, kick-off 20.45CET – with J Field Okayama coming out on top in the Under-14 category and Ryutsu Keizaidai Kashiwa High School emerging victorious from the U16 section.
As well as attending the final, the teams will participate in the UEFA Young Champions Finals on 23 and 25 May at the UEFA Champions Festival in the International Quarter close to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Continental and Regional Young Champions Tournaments are organised each season by adidas. The Osaka and Yokohama events provide the latest example of the former, with the latter always centred around the host city of the UEFA Champions League final.
The UEFA Young Champions Tournament was conceived in 2002 when the Football Association of Ireland (FAI), together with a collection of schools in Glasgow, had the idea of arranging a mini-tournament for youngsters within the context of the UEFA Champions League final.
Consequently, UEFA, in cooperation with adidas, staged the first such event for 27 schools in the week of the 2002 final at Hampden Park in the Scottish city.