The UEFA Youth League returns to action this weekend at the Colovray Sports Centre in Nyon, Switzerland.
Those familiar with the competition will know that Colovray has hosted finals weekends since the competition’s first season in 2013/14, and this summer, the Youth League gets back underway a stone’s throw from UEFA headquarters a short distance from Geneva.
Nyon has been home to UEFA since 1995, the organisation moving to its current site in 1999, and taking responsibility for operations at the 4,000-capacity stadium site in 2010. In all this time, European football’s governing body has worked hard to foster strong links with the town.
UEFA’s key investment
“UEFA’s presence in Nyon is a source of pride for our town, because the organisation’s reputation also has very positive benefits as far as Nyon’s image is concerned,” explains Daniel Rossellat, mayor of Nyon. “There are very important economic benefits as well, given that UEFA is a key provider of jobs for our region.
“UEFA has managed the Colovray sports centre for ten years now, and Nyon considers itself to be very lucky in this respect. The sports clubs who are active at Colovray are pleased with the quality of the pitch maintenance, as well as the investments made by UEFA – as are the spectators who come to watch the competitions.”
Of course, the 2019/20 edition of the Youth League will reach its conclusion behind closed doors, with some of Europe’s top young talents competing for the trophy without the presence of the thousands of local schoolchildren that usually make up the crowd at the finals weekend.
“It’s a great shame that the organisation of sporting and cultural events has been completely disrupted during this special and unique year,” says Rossellat. “Having said this, the UEFA Youth League – even if no spectators can attend matches this year – is an extremely important event, both for European football and for our town. We’ll be delighted if the local public are able to return to watch the competition under normal conditions in 2021!”
Colovray in focus
The Colovray complex also houses several other pitches, as well as track and field facilities and a restaurant. As well as UEFA activities, it has also been used for pre-tournament and pre-season training by national and club teams.
Opened in 1991, Colovray is also home to Stade Nyonnais from the Promotion League, Switzerland’s third tier.
The stadium staged the 2004 UEFA European Under-19 Championship final and from 2008 to 2013 hosted the four-team Women’s Under-17 EURO as well as other UEFA-organised friendly tournaments.
A series of UEFA development initiatives are also based at Colovray, including the Centre of Refereeing Excellence (CORE), which trains young referees from across Europe , and the UEFA Pro Licence Student Exchange course, which brings together student coaches to learn best practices and hear from specialist speakers.
UEFA supporting local sport
UEFA’s commitment to local sport does not stop with Colovray. In 2000, the organisation created the Foundation for the Development of Sport in Nyon. It provides financial support designed to encourage local people, especially youngsters, to practise a sport, as well as seeking to improve the town’s other sporting facilities and infrastructures.
In 2019, the Foundation awarded grants to help local sports associations in sailing, scuba-diving and chess, as well as the organisation of a multi-discipline regional games.
“This foundation, created by UEFA 20 years ago, is a smart and efficient way for the European football body to fulfill its social responsibility role,” adds Rossellat. “Since its creation, the foundation has allocated nearly 1.3 million Swiss francs to around 100 beneficiaries. Sports clubs, sportsmen and women in our town are fortunate to be able to count on such financial aid alongside the activities and campaigns undertaken on behalf of sport by the town’s municipal authorities.”
UEFA Youth League schedule – watch live on UEFA.tv
All matches will be played behind closed doors, but supporters are able to watch online and for free via UEFA.tv (geo-restrictions apply).
Round of 16
Sunday, August 16
Internazionale Milano 1-0 Rennes (15:00 CET)
Juventus 1-3 Real Madrid (18:00)
Tuesday, August 18
Midtjylland vs Ajax (15:00)
Dinamo Zagreb vs Benfica (18:00)
Wednesday, August 19
Salzburg v Lyon (15:00)
Internazionale Milano/Rennes vs Juventus/Real Madrid (18:00)
Saturday, August 22
Dinamo Zagreb/Benfica vs Midtjylland/Ajax (15:00)
Salzburg/Lyon vs Internazionale Milano/Rennes/Juventus/Real Madrid (18:00)
Tuesday, August 25
Winner semi-final 1 vs Winner semi-final 2 (18:00)
Colovray’s previous UEFA Youth League finals
2019: FC Porto 3-1 Chelsea
2018: Barcelona 3-0 Chelsea
2017: Salzburg 2-1 Benfica
2016: Chelsea 2-1 Paris Saint-Germain
2015: Chelsea 3-2 Shakhtar Donetsk
2014: Barcelona 3-0 Benfica