Next Gen Cup 2023: Equal groups demand scintillating action
Four Indian teams, three Premier League teams and one side from South Africa will take part.
The draw for the PL Next Gen Cup has been announced with the eight competitors placed in two groups. Group A comprises ISL clubs Bengaluru FC and ATK Mohun Bagan, Premier League club West Ham United and South African club Stellenbosch FC. Meanwhile, Group B comprises Premier League clubs Everton and Wolverhampton Wanderers, RF Young Champs which is the Reliance Foundation’s academy and Sudeva Delhi FC.
What is the Next Gen Cup?
The Premier League Next Generation Cup is a part of the Premier League Youth Games Initiative and a result of the Premier League’s collaboration with the Indian Super League and South Africa’s Premier Soccer League.
The first edition in 2020 had three U-15 teams from India and three U-14 teams from Premier League. Chelsea’s U-14 side won the inaugural edition of the PL Next Gen Cup. The tournament then became an U-23 level tournament and Stellenbosch FC’s academy won the second edition in 2022. This is the third edition and will be conducted at the Reliance Corporate Park in Mumbai between May 17 and May 26, 2023. The competition aims to provide exposure to young Indian football talent by providing them with a platform to compete against the academies of the Premier League elite.
While the previous edition had only two slots for Indian clubs, allowing the academies of Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters to travel to the United Kingdom, this edition opened up four slots for Indian clubs. The four Indian teams were selected through the 2023 Reliance Foundation Development League.
The 2023 Reliance Foundation Development League (RFDL) saw 59 teams from across nine divisions play over 300 matches in total, making it the largest and most inclusive youth football tournament in India. The academies of ATK Mohun Bagan, RF Young Champs, Bengaluru FC and Sudeva Delhi FC emerged as the top four and booked their berths in the PL Next Gen Cup.
The final of the 2023 RFDL between Bengaluru FC and Sudeva Delhi FC will take place at the Reliance Corporate Park, Mumbai at 5 PM IST on May 14.
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