Youth gets its chance to shine
Monday, April 24, 2023
Borne of a request from the European Club Association, the UEFA Youth League places development at its heart.
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The UEFA Youth League was introduced to the European scene in 2013/14, the first season of a two-year trial.
The Under-19 competition is UEFA's first youth tournament at club level. Borne of a request from the European Club Association, the venture aims to further develop youth football at professional club level, reduce the gap between sides' youth and first teams and offer unique international experience and competition matches for these youngsters. The victors lift the Lennart Johansson trophy.
From the opening season each UEFA Champions League group stage club entered their U19 side and the autumn schedule is replicated in the UEFA Youth League: the same group stage draw and fixtures, with players having the chance to travel with their senior colleagues to away games. In 2015/16 a second path was created with 32 national youth champions competing in a knockout competition for a chance to play-off with the group runners-up to join the group winners in the knockout phase.
The four-team finals are usually played at Colovray Stadium opposite UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland. In 2019/20, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the quarter-finals were also played there along with two outstanding round of 16 ties. In 2022/23, due to exceptional demand for tickets, the final four was moved to Stade de Genève.
Roll of honour
2013/14: Barcelona (runners-up: Benfica)
2014/15: Chelsea (Shakhtar)
2015/16: Chelsea (Paris)
2016/17: Salzburg (Benfica)
2017/18: Barcelona (Chelsea)
2018/19: Porto (Chelsea)
2019/20: Real Madrid (Benfica)
2020/21: season cancelled
2021/22: Benfica (Salzburg)
2022/23: AZ Alkmaar (Hajduk Split)