Premier League To Unveil U21 European Cup Competition Featuring 16 Clubs
The Premier League is set to "unveil a new European cup competition" which will see English U21 teams take on continental opposition this season, according to Craig Hope of the London DAILY MAIL. The top eight clubs from the U21 Premier League -- including ManU, Man City and Chelsea -- and "eight including Celtic from other countries" will make up the 16-team tournament. The initiative is part of the Elite Player Performance Plan introduced in '11 to "improve the standard of young players the top English clubs are producing." The competition will "run parallel" to the revamped domestic U21 league. That now carries the "added interest of promotion and relegation and will see both Sky Sports and BT Sport televise 10 matches live" (DAILY MAIL, 8/5). The PA reported the plan, which the Premier League is hoping will receive UEFA's blessing, "would see eight Under-21 sides from England’s top-flight play against eight others from countries including Spain and Germany as well as the Scottish champions Celtic." EPL Communications Dir Dan Johnson said the proposal "had been under consideration for several years." Johnson: "We do believe it would be good for the development of talented young players but it is not an answer to the B league proposal at all" (PA, 8/5).