England, world champions at Under-17 level, hosted the final tournament of the UEFA European Under-17 Championship for the first time, having previously staged the last edition of the U16 equivalent back in 2001. Of the 16 participants, only just over half – nine, to be precise – had disputed the previous year’s title in Croatia.
The delegations were accommodated in three different centres during the group stage, during which six venues were used for the 24 matches: Burton-upon-Trent, Chesterfield, Loughborough University, Rotherham, Walsall and the FA’s national centre at St. George’s Park, where seven of the participants also had their accommodation. Three of the seven knockout matches, including the final, were played at the highest-capacity venue – the New York Stadium, home of Rotherham United.
England internationals Wayne Rooney, Nathaniel Chalobah and recent senior debutant Lewis Cook acted as ambassadors during the promotional activities leading up to the event.
Eight referees and 12 assistant referees, all but two of them from non-participating countries, were selected to gain experience at the final tournament of a UEFA competition, along with a quartet of fourth officials. As usual, the tournament agenda featured educational briefings on doping controls and the dangers of match-fixing aimed at players who were, in the main, gaining their first experience of the final round of a UEFA competition.
UEFA’s technical team at the tournament in England was formed by Savvas Constantinou (Cyprus), John Peacock (England), Dany Ryser (Switzerland) and Ghenadie Scurtul (Moldova), whose observations have been compiled into a technical report which, in addition to providing a permanent record of the event, aims to offer useful information to coaches working at the development levels of the game.