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NextGen on hold amid funding problems

The NextGen Series, the most prestigious youth tournament in European football, has been suspended for a season amid funding problems.

Graham Burke bagged the winning brace for Villa
Aston Villa won last season's tournament.

The suspension of the event, which was won by Aston Villa last season, has been described as “hugely disappointing” by organisers, who have been unable to secure sponsorship.

It was introduced two years ago, and it is hoped that the hiatus will be no longer than one season. "It is with regret that the NextGen Series has today announced it will be suspending the tournament for one season due to a lack of definite funding,” a statement said.

"Over the past two seasons, NextGen has played a major part in the development of European football and has enjoyed great success with many NextGen players, including Celtic's Tony Watt, Villa's Gary Gardner and Ajax's Viktor Fischer, progressing to their first teams."

The event’s co-founders, Mark Warburton and Justin Andrews, praised the “magnificent” support received “from the football industry, media and fans”.

They added: "It is hugely disappointing that an event of this nature, designed to assist with the development of Europe's elite players, should have to take such action -- but we hope to be back next season with an even better tournament."

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