CEE Cup has started

The youth football tournament will finish at Prague's Ďolíček Stadium

The eighth edition of the CEE Cup is now taking place and will culminate July 31 at Ďolíček Stadium in Prague’s Vršovice district.

The CEE Cup is a football tournament for under 19 players. Eight teams from across the world are participating. The Czech Republic is represented by AC Sparta Praha and SK Slavia Praha. The other clubs are Everton FC, Beşiktaş JK, SE Palmeiras, FK Sarajevo, FC Nitra and Bucharest's Academia Sport Team.

Roberto De Blasio, director of the CEE Cup's organizing committee, said that people who come to Ďolíček can look forward to a day of great football as well as events for kids before the match.

The diverse array of teams means that there will be many different styles of play throughout the tournament, and the participants will have a chance to be exposed to new ideas.

Some players from past CEE Cups have gone on to join professional teams.

The gates will open at 2 pm at Ďolíček Stadium on July 31, and this will give people a chance to get ready for the kids' football day, which starts at 3 pm. People who want to participate can also register online until July 27. Footballer Tomáš Jun and other professionals will guide the kids in teamwork and fun. Participants will receive a small gift. The kids' fo9otball day is free of charge.

People coming to see the final match at 6 pm will pay a symbolic entry fee of Kč 100, which will go to support the charity UNICEF.

“I consider this year's edition of the tournament to be more competitive and interesting compared to the previous ones, as there will be two groups of four teams each instead of the previous format with four groups of three teams. This new format, which focuses on higher-quality clubs, will provide a more entertaining spectacle, and the teams who reach the final will have truly deserved that honor,” De Blasio said.

Games leading up to the final are streamed live over the internet. The group phase will take place July 25 to 28 at TC Mladeze Strahov and Stadion Evžena Rošického and the July 30 ranking phase will be at Sokol Nebušice.

It is not just about football. The cup lets the visiting players broaden their horizons.

“I hope the participants have a chance between games to see Prague and all it has to offer,” De Blasio said.

The event also gives a good experience to local players. The Czech Football Association is among the sponsors. “The Football Association is happy that, with our support, the football season will kick off with this prestigious tournament, which promises to be an amazing event for fans and very valuable experience for young Czech footballers,” Otakat Mestek, the director of Football Associations' amateur and youth department, said.

Antonín Lébl of City Hall's committee for sports and leisure said the CEE Cup ranks high among the main youth sports events in the city.

For more on the kids' day, visit www.facebook.com/events

To watch games live visit www.ceecup.org

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