Football: Youdan Trophy gears up for 2016 launch... and you can be at the big final, for free!

Rangers celebrate after winning the 2015 Youdan Trophy
Rangers celebrate after winning the 2015 Youdan Trophy

It holds a valuable part in the history of football - and next week, the eyes of the footballing world will be on Sheffield as over 800 players, from some of the world's top clubs, compete in the 2016 Youdan Trophy.

Teams from all over the globe - from Rosenborg to Everton, Seattle Sounders to FC Basel and Newcastle United to Royal Antwerp, as well as Sheffield United and Wednesday - will line up against top-flight teams from Africa, Europe and the USA for the tournament, which has quadrupled in size from its 2015 debut.

Mark Lawrenson with Jock Waugh, director of tournament organisers You are the Ref

Mark Lawrenson with Jock Waugh, director of tournament organisers You are the Ref

Group games, which begin on Monday, will take place at Sheffield Hallam University Sports Park and the Warminster Road facility of the University of Sheffield, with the finals at SHU Sports Park on Friday, August 5. And you could be there to watch the stars of tomorrow... free of charge! Tickets are available via the tournament website, www.youdantrophy.com.

Former top referee Keith Hackett, director of Youdan Trophy tournament organisers You-Are-The-Ref.com, said: “Interest in our tournament has truly exceeded all expectations.

“We’re all about putting the eyes of the footballing world back on Sheffield and its testament to everyone involved that we’ve got some of the biggest teams in the world arriving to play.

“The Youdan Trophy is also bringing some of the world’s best up-and-coming referees to Sheffield and providing them with experience at the highest level.”

Welsh international footballing hero John Hartson joined forces with former Manchester United player and now Oxford United manager Michael Appleton to perform the draw for the Youdan Trophy at the National Football Museum in Manchester just a few weeks ago.

And a recent dinner, attended by former Liverpool star Mark Lawrenson and Wednesday favourite David Hirst, raised £3,000 for two Sheffield charities, the Children’s Hospital Charity and local youth housing charity, Roundabout.

The Youdan Trophy celebrates football’s first ever tournament, which was presented by Thomas Youdan Esq. and played only once, in 1867 at Bramall Lane.

*The tournament is being delivered in partnership with Marketing Sheffield, University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University, iPro Sport, Seabrook Crisps, Engie, Quick Play Sport, Precision, Brew & Bean, Maurice Parker Interiors, Sandwich King UK, Talbot Sports Turf, G W Price, Hotel Football, The Children’s Hospital Charity, SportPAD, Roundabout and The Star.

You can also follow the Youdan Trophy on Twitter (@YoudanTrophy), Instagram (@YoudanTrophy) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/YoudanTrophy).

*A legal hearing is set to be held later this month to resolve a dispute over the Youdan Trophy tournament. Sandygate club Hallam FC is opposing a bid by You Are The Ref to trademark the name 'Youdan Trophy Est 1867 Sheffield’, claiming the name infringes its intellectual property rights. The original contest pre-dates the FA Cup and was played once in 1867. The winner’s trophy - the Youdan Cup - was presented to Hallam FC by Thomas Youdan Esq. The tribunal hearing in London will be overseen by the Intellectual Property Office.