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Format & regulations

Sixteen teams qualify for the UEFA European Under-17 Championship final tournament.

The U17 finals are usually played in May
The U17 finals are usually played in May ©UEFA.com

The successor to the UEFA European Under-16 Championship, the U17 event has been running annually since 2001/02. It consists of a qualifying round, an elite round and, from 2014/15, a 16-team final tournament usually held in May.

The autumn qualifying round is made up of groups of four teams playing round-robin fixtures at one venue. The top two progress alongside – depending on the number of entries – a specified number of third-placed sides with the best record against the top pair in their section, plus the top-ranked countries given byes thus far. In the elite round, staged in the spring, the qualifiers compete in mini-tournament groups of four, with the winners and a specificed number of best runners-up joining the hosts in the finals.

In the finals the 16 teams are split into four groups, with the leading two from each going into the knockout phase. In tournaments held in odd-numbered years the championship also serves as qualification for the biennial FIFA U-17 World Cup, with the four semi-finalists joined by the two winners of play-offs involving beaten quarter-finalists.

The regulations for the UEFA European U17 Championship are initially drawn up by the UEFA Administration before being submitted to the UEFA Youth and Amateur Football Committee. They are then forwarded upon that committee's approval to the UEFA Executive Committee for ratification.