Exeter City paired with Torquay United in FA's new Under-21 Cup
Exeter City have been given a home draw against Torquay United in the Football Association’s newly created Under-21 cup competition.
Fifty one clubs from across the country will take part in the event, which is designed to improve the development of younger players.
Although Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham have opted out, 51 Academies have entered, including Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City, with Monday’s draw for the first round pairing the Grecians with their Devon neighbours.
All matches have to be played in proper stadiums, which – in the week after Football Association chairman Greg Dyke expressed his concerns about the number of English youngsters forcing their way into the top flight – Premier League director of youth Ged Roddy feels is another significant development.
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“The introduction of an Under-21 cup creates another competitive opportunity for players up and down the country, which can enhance and support what we’re doing with the Barclays Under-21 Premier League,” said Roddy.
“Players who come through the academy system have been playing on training grounds since they were nine in some cases.
“One of the characteristics of that transition from the academy player to the professional player is the stadium experience, dealing with games that they need to win and dealing with, on occasions, a hostile environment that is created by a big crowd, and sometimes a very supportive environment.”
The draw will be regionalised until the round of 16, whereupon it becomes national. The final will be played over two legs, home and away at the main stadia of both teams.”
Competition rules state that teams can field players aged between 16 and 21, plus three older outfield players and one older goalkeeper. As yet, no date has been set for the Grecians’ first round clash.
Qualifying Round 1 – week beginning 23 September 2013*. Qualifying Round 2 – week beginning 21 October 2013. Round of 32 – week beginning 18 November 2013. Round of 16 – week beginning 16 December 2013. Quarter Final – week beginning 27 January 2013. Semi-Final – week beginning 22 February 2013. Final – week beginning 17 March 2013. * Ties to be played within 14 days of proposed date.