New footballing stars set to shine
© Foto-net

On 3 December 1938, Zurich football club FC Blue Stars established the Blue Stars tournament, now known around the world as the Blue Stars/FIFA Youth Cup.

The 72nd edition, featuring youth teams from a variety of leading international clubs, takes place on 12 and 13 May at the Bucherln sports facility.

Last year, an enthusiastic Zurich crowd witnessed an all-Swiss final, in which FC Basel edged out Grasshopper Club to claim the trophy. And last season’s finalists are again among the starting field for the long-running tournament, which came under FIFA patronage in 1991.

The Swiss duo are in Group A, where they will meet big-name teams from three continents. Boca Juniors (Argentina), Kaizer Chiefs (South Africa) and Mallorca (Spain) pose a stern challenge to Basel and Grasshoppers’ hopes of repeating last term’s success.

Group B is similarly bristling with class and tradition, with the promise of sparkling football from all the teams involved. Club America (Mexico), Celtic (Scotland), Borussia Dortmund (Germany), FC Zurich (Switzerland) and hosts Blue Stars will face off for the right to appear in the semi-finals.

"Where stars are born" is once again the tournament slogan. A glance at the list of previous participants shows that the motto is no empty boast: over the years, the Blue Stars/FIFA Youth Cup in Zurich has featured the likes of David Beckham, Kaka and Alex Frei.

No less a figure than FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter once entered the fray in pursuit of the prestige trophy: he was a member of the FC Siders youth team line-up at the 1955 tournament.