Dubai set to stage NextGen Series finals? | The First Group

Dubai set to stage NextGen Series finals?

Some of the world's most talented young footballers could soon be performing in Dubai, as plans are in place to bring a burgeoning European tournament to the UAE.The NextGen Series is essentially the under-19 equivalent of the Uefa Champions League and most of the continent's top clubs take part.According to the National, the latter stages of the youth competition could soon be held in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha.Co-founder of the tournament Justin Andrews is adamant that the semi-finals, third-place play-off and final will be staged in the Middle East at the end of March."We would love to hold the finals in the UAE," Mr Andrews told the news provider during a phone interview."Abu Dhabi and Dubai are NextGen for us; they are NextGen cities; cities that are up and coming; cities that are the future. There is a definite synergy there between our football tournament and these cities in that we are both finding our feet as we look to develop."The NextGen Series was only established in 2011, but its popularity is growing rapidly.It originally started out as a 16-team event, but this has already been expanded to 24, with the likes of Chelsea and Borussia Dortmund joining the fray.Obviously, many of the talented youngsters who take part in the competition are likely to go on to stardom at senior level.Even though it has only been running for two years, some recognisable players have already participated in a NextGen match, most notably Liverpool's Raheem Sterling and Celtic's Tony Watt.The fact that the former has since earned a call-up to the full England national side and the latter has scored the winning goal in a Champions League match against Spanish giants Barcelona highlights the calibre of players participating in the youth tournament.Dubai is steadily building a strong reputation in the world of football, with the likes of Diego Maradona and Sven-Goran Eriksson taking up roles at clubs in the city in the recent past.

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