The Zurich football team known as FC Blue Stars is one of the city's oldest-established clubs, and it is thanks mainly to its annual junior tournament which has been running for 60 years (traditionally played on Ascension Day and the day before) that it now also has an international reputation.
In 1995, the event was given a new name to mark the fact that FIFA took over the patronage. The new designation of the tournament as the Blue Stars/FIFA Youth Cup, is largely due to Sepp Blatter, formerly General Secretary and now President of FIFA. He himself took part in the tournament as a junior with FC Sierre and is an honorary member of FC Blue Stars.
With the support of FIFA, which also uses the competition as an opportunity to try out experiments with the rules, the event has developed into a major one in the football calendar. Many of those who have taken part in the tournament have gone on to become famous names in Europe or South America, such as Bobby Charlton and George Best. Others who have made their mark in Zurich are Ireland's Don Givens, Mark Hughes of Wales and Northern Ireland’s Norman Whiteside.
Or take the current Manchester United stars, David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes and the Neville brothers, Gary and Phil. Add a player like Bayern Munich's Markus Babbel, who had one of his first international outings in Zurich as well, and you get a line-up worthy of a Champions' League final.
Future championships will tell us which youngster of the vintage of 1999 will leave his mark on the world's major football grounds.