SUPPORT OUR YOUNGSTERS AS NEW LEAGUE KICKS OFF
Chelsea kick-off the new, revamped Under 21 league campaign with a home clash against Manchester City on Friday 17 August at 7pm, a perfect opportunity for supporters to head down to Brentford's Griffin Park and get behind the youngsters who could be representing the first team in years to come.
The restructuring of what was previously known as the reserve league has been introduced in a bid to improve the quality of home-grown players in England, in turn enhancing the fortunes of the national team in the long-term.
The competition, made up of 17 teams from the top-flight and six from the Championship, will see clubs split across three groups, with a knockout round and subsequent final being played in the New Year.
In terms of the squad requirements, three players over the age of 21 will be permitted in outfield positions, while clubs will also be able to name one over-age goalkeeper.
Academy manager Neil Bath, who was involved throughout the process, believes everything is in place for the new-look league to become a success, and feels the players involved will benefit from the reshaped format.
'It's great for us to be back playing at a professional ground such as Brentford FC's Griffin Park,' he tells the official Chelsea website.
'It's a new Premier League for Under 21s and hopefully the supporters will get behind us.
'When we initially spoke about the Under 21 league, we talked about trying to generate the feel and atmosphere of a typical FA Youth Cup night, and with the games predominantly being played on Friday nights, that's what we're trying to do.
'We're hopeful we will be able to create that and provide the right environment in order for the boys to develop in.'
We have been drawn in a group alongside the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City and Middlesbrough, while we will also face London derbies against both Fulham and Crystal Palace.
All of our home matches will be played at Griffin Park, apart from the game against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday 1 September which will take place at Stamford Bridge.
Tickets for the opening game against Manchester City are priced at £3 for adults and £1 for children, and will be available from the ground on the night.