London: Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters FC reserve squads have arrived in the United Kingdom to participate in the Next Generation Cup, 2022 hosted by the Premier League.
The tournament is part of the longstanding partnership between Premier League and Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL) to support the development of football in India.
The youth squads of the two Indian Super League (ISL) clubs had qualified to compete in the international tournament by virtue of finishing in the top two in the inaugural Reliance Foundation Development League (RFDL) held earlier this year.
The eight-team Next Generation Cup features five Premier League club youth teams and one academy side from South Africa alongside Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters FC. The teams will be divided into two groups and play their first match on July 27 in London and the Midlands.
"The Premier League and our clubs look forward to welcoming players from Bengaluru FC and the Kerala Blasters FC for the Next Generation Cup, the first time the youth development tournament has been held in the UK," Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said in a statement.
"This event builds on our continued work with the Indian Super League (ISL), to support the development and growth of football in India. It also provides a brilliant opportunity for young players from the Leagues to meet and compete against each other, learn about each other's cultures and develop both on and off the pitch," he added.
During the tournament, the Premier League and its clubs will also provide knowledge-sharing workshops to best support the ISL clubs involved. In addition, it will provide a chance for young Indian footballers to experience playing in the UK and competing against academy sides from the most followed football league in the world.
"It gives us immense pleasure to see young Indian footballers gain international exposure and take their game to the next level. This will surely empower the emerging players to evolve as better footballers and lead the growth of football in the country," Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL) Spokesperson said.
"The FSDL-Premier League partnership has been a crucial step towards our commitment to globalise Indian football and we are thankful to the Premier League for being partners and resonating our vision towards the development and growth of the Indian football ecosystem," he added.