G14-inspired Champions Youth League launched

The inaugural Champions Youth Cup, an international U-19 football club tournament initiated by the G-14 alliance of powerful European clubs, has been officially launched at Malaysia's National Stadium in Bukit Jalil. Flamengo, Ajax, AC Milan and Arsenal are in Group A; Qatar, Paris Saint Germain, Juventus and Barcelona in Group B; Boca Juniors, Porto, Internazionale and Manchester United in Group C; and PSV Eindhoven, Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Malaysia in Group D. The tournament will be played over 12 days from 8 August, with the final scheduled for 19 August.

Malaysia's head coach Robert Alberts, who has set a modest target for the team, said it will be a "vast experience" for the team to play in the tournament. "Hopefully, with the support of the fans, they will put on some decent display on the field. In terms of winning, we have to be realistic," Alberts said adding that the U-19 team has not had any international exposure nor have they played in high-standard competitions with professional clubs. "Our players only play in our local league. This will be their challenge to prove how good they are against the professional players who have been featured in the EPL, Serie A and the Dutch League. So, it will be a fantastic challenge for them," he added.

Arsenal coach Stephen Bould said the competition will serve as a platform for the young and budding professional football talents to strive. "This championship gives a great chance to all the young players. It will also be completely different playing here in Malaysia rather than in Europe," he told Bernama news agency.