LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 31: Cameron Lancaster of Spurs waits to replace Emmanuel Adebayor of Spurs during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Wigan Athletic at White Hart Lane on January 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Tottenham Hotspur have, today, released a statement saying they are withdrawing from the NextGen Series due to a "accidental breach of competition regulations." Tottenham, on Tuesday, beat Liverpool in the quarterfinals and were set to take on either Ajax or Barcelona in the semi-final. Now Liverpool's youth squad will advance to face one of those two teams.
The club was not terribly forthcoming with the details of this breach of regulations, but it seems to center around young French player Nabil Bentaleb. The belief is that Bentaleb, who was born in August of 1996 is too young for the competition. The Next Gen series is a competition for 16-19 year olds. In fact, the rules of the competition state:
All eligible players shall belong to the following age category: Each squad will consist of a maximum 18 players. All players must be born on or after January 1st 1993 although 3 players are allowed in the squad who are born on or after January 1st 1992. Only two of these three players born on or after January 2nd 1992 are allowed to play at any one time. The inclusion of the 3 older players is an ‘option’ for each participating club and not a stipulation.
These rules don't say anything about a minimum age, which makes the belief the Bentaleb is too young for the competition a bit odd. I've honestly never even heard of Bentaleb before this match and I don't know if he's actually part of our acadamy at all. I believe he may be on trial. If that's true, then that is likely the reason why he is ineligible as trial players are generally not allowed to play in competitive matches.
In all honesty, I'd like the club to come out and say exactly what the breach of regulations was. I appreciate that the club has voluntarily withdrawn, I think that action is pretty classy, but at least let the fans know exactly what's going on.