Next Generation Mumbai Cup concludes successfully; lays foundation for a brighter future

The Next Generation Mumbai Cup 2020 and the accompanying developmental workshops, conducted as part of the second edition of the Youth Games organised by the Premier League and Hero Indian Super League, concluded successfully at the Reliance Corporate Park in Navi Mumbai on Friday. The five-day-long event symbolized another important chapter in the ever-strengthening Premier League-Hero ISL partnership, which has seen the two work hand in hand to facilitate the progress of Indian football for the past six years.

The Next Generation Mumbai Cup saw three Premier League Under 14 sides – Chelsea FC, Manchester United FC and Southampton FC - travel to Mumbai to compete against Under 15 players from Bengaluru FC, FC Goa and Reliance Foundation Young Champs (RFYC) academy. It was the Chelsea boys who clinched the title, staying undefeated throughout the competition, but the tournament witnessed some exhilarating football on display from all the teams involved.

There were some memorable moments in store for the Indian players during the competition with RFYC's landmark 1-0 win over Manchester United in the final match and a 3-0 victory over Southampton back in Day 2 of the competition. Bengaluru FC's youth team, too, held the Saints to a draw in Day 1. The FC Goa Under 15s also registered a narrow win over Southampton in their final match of the competition.

The competitive edge showcased by the teams stood in perfect harmony with the spirit of cooperation and exchange of cultures, with fans turning up at the venue to encourage and cheer on the players. The tournament not only gave the academy players new experiences on the pitch, with the difference in the weather and playing style, but also off of it, with the opportunity to visit local schools and communities to understand more about different cultures.

At the sidelines of the tournament, Premier League coaches from the three attending clubs worked alongside staff from PGMOL, who look after match officials, to help enhance the skills of Indian coaches and referees, which they can utilize to develop grassroots football across the country.

One of the biggest highlights of the entire event came on the final day, where Chairperson and founder of Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL) and Reliance Foundation, Mrs Nita Ambani, joined Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters to sign a new Mutual Cooperation Agreement that will see the Hero ISL and Premier League continue to work together to share knowledge and expertise in all areas of the elite game including governance, talent development, commercial growth, administration and wider community development. The partnership between the two leagues began six years ago and this new agreement will allow the leagues to continue working together to enhance the coaching, refereeing and football development in India, at a much larger capacity.

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