Malaysia to host G14's Champions Youth Cup

U-19 youth teams from 14 of the world's greatest football clubs have signed up to play in a new international youth tournament called the Champions Youth Cup, to take place in Malaysia from 5-19 August 2007 as part of Visit Malaysia Year and the South East Asian country's 50th Merdeka independence celebrations The tournament will see Europe's AC Milan, Ajax Amsterdam, Arsenal FC, CA Boca Juniors, Chelsea FC, CR Flamengo, FC Barcelona, FC Bayern Munich, FC Porto, Internazionale FC, Juventus FC, Manchester United, Paris Saint Germain and PSV Eindhoven bring their U-19 teams to play alongside national youth teams from Qatar and Malaysia.

Four groups of four teams will play round robin matches in Alor Setar, Kuantan, Melaka and Kuching with the knockout stages held in Kuala Lumpur and the final at the National Stadium in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday 19 August. The Tournament Draw will take place in Malaysia on 19 April

The inaugural event, supported by the Malaysian Youth and Sports Ministry and Tourism Ministry and backed by the Football Association of Malaysia , was launched by Youth & Sports Minister Datuk Azalina Othman Said. “It will be a treat for football fans to watch these exciting matches,” she said.

"The decision to bid for the Champions Youth Cup was endorsed by the Cabinet Committee for Sports and the £2.5 million (about RM17 million) cost has been shared equally by the Sports and Tourism Ministries," reported Christopher Raj in the New Straits Times.

“This is a one-year program and we have the option to renew it ... There is an option for another two years but that will depend on various factors," Minister Said further explained. "We bid for it in 2006 and we obtained the Cabinet Committee’s approval. This is also one way of helping the FA of Malaysia develop its players."

G-14 General Manager, Thomas Kurth, who was present to lend his support, said his organization, which includes 12 of the participating clubs, fully endorsed the tournament. "This tournament was inspired by the clubs themselves who want international competition to develop their young talents and showcase them to the world. "They also want to give something back to the communities that support them in recognition of the passion that fans in Malaysia and across Asia have for them."

Kurth also confirmed that G-14 was committed to developing a programme of development assistance for Malaysian football in partnership with the Ministry of Youth & Sports and FAM and stressed that such a program would be carefully constructed and implemented for long term benefit. "We hope that this tournament will act an inspiration for football in Malaysia, and that in tandem with the Government and the football authorities in Malaysia we can create a genuine legacy," he said.

See also: Malaysia to host youth championship in August (27 Feb)