Four of the best youth teams in European club football meet this week at the UEFA Youth League Finals in Nyon, Switzerland.
Atlético Madrid, Benfica, Juventus and Salzburg, winners of the 2016-2017 edition, prepare for the semi-finals to be held at the 4,000-seat Kolovray stadium. The winner will be chosen next Monday, April 25th.
The 2021/202 edition marks the return of the long-awaited tournament, which was canceled the previous season due to the pandemic.
In the youth league, players gain significant experience on the field, but there are also many opportunities for further development of the players.
Support local sports
During their stay in Switzerland, the four clubs will participate in training sessions and dedicate themselves to social initiatives, which should contribute to team spirit and fair play within teams.
The juniors meet the President of the UEFA Referees Committee Roberto Rossetti, who informs them about the laws of the game and participates in an interview with UEFA integrity experts. Locally, they participate in an event organized by the UEFA Foundation and PluSport, an organization that enables people with disabilities to participate in sports.
This is an opportunity for UEFA and clubs to give back to the people of Nyon who have supported the competition since its inception in the 2013/14 season.
Since 1995, UEFA has been based in the city in western Switzerland, not far from Geneva. The pan-European organization promotes physical activity among the local population, especially young people. He also intends to improve other sports facilities in the city.
Daniel Roussellat, Mayor of Nyon
“The City of Nyon is pleased that this top-tier sporting event can be held again after a year-long break due to the pandemic. I would like to assure that Nyon is fortunate to host the Youth League Finals and I am pleased that this event has not only a sporting aspect, but a social aspect as well. Enjoy Football fans and youth in particular have a great opportunity to experience the stars of tomorrow.”
More information about the Stade de Colovray
The community at the heart of the UEFA Youth League
Each season, UEFA also gives participating clubs a €500 grant to participate in social projects that ensure players are committed to their local communities.
For example, Atlético runs training sessions with underprivileged children. But there are many other stories of players who have taken the time to engage with people living in precarious conditions.
One example of community involvement is Manchester United, whose teams work with the club’s foundation to run mental health education and awareness-raising events in local secondary schools.
Players plan a physical activity that will encourage children to stay active because it will benefit themselves. The football players also participated in a question and answer session with the students to create a safe environment for children to express their feelings, share challenges and learn about the support they can get.
Paris Saint-Germain players set up a “solidarity restaurant”, cooked and distributed meals for children of the “Rouge et Bleu” school – a project of the PSG Foundation, which allows disadvantaged children to participate in learning units, thus helping them while supporting their own personal development. Other crew members visited children at a local hospital and spent time chatting with patients and their families.
The Sevilla FC team visited the Bioalverde Ecological Park and raised funds for the project – a non-profit organization created to help people at risk of social exclusion.
Other associations have also taken the lead: Hajduk Split supports the adoption of abandoned pets and Deportivo La Coruña, a local organization that helps cancer patients.
UEFA learning app for players
Red Star Belgrade’s Bobang Mateja accepted the UEFA Player of the Year award. Red Star Belgrade
All teams participating in the Youth League can participate in the training sessions and get free access to the “UEFA For Players” app, which provides players with help and advice at all stages of their careers.
The app has been developed to give players the knowledge they need to plan their career. It includes modules on the topics of integrity, doping, social image, finance, fair play, and work after playing as a player.
Players earn points for completing units, and each month the best of them receive prizes, including UEFA Champions League match balls.
Investing in football
The Youth League is an example of how UEFA has invested the profits from the men’s first division competitions in the development of European football at all levels of the football pyramid.
The 13 other UEFA men’s and women’s competitions are funded from the proceeds of the European Nations Cup, UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League: UEFA Women’s Champions League, European Under-21 Championship, European Men’s and Women’s Futsal Cup, Futsal Champions League, Youth League, European Men’s Under-17 and Under-19 Championship, European Under-19 Futsal Championship and District Cup.