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Saints join new under-21 Premier League
4:07pm Friday 3rd August 2012 in Saints News
The Barclays Premier League today announced the creation of a new Under-21 competition - with Saints confirming their participation.
The 17 top-flight clubs and six Championship sides who applied for category one academy status have entered and will be divided into three groups.
Saints have been placed with Aston Villa, Manchester United, Newcastle, Stoke, Sunderland, Tottenham and Watford.
From January, the sides will then be placed into three pools based on their performance, leading to a knockout stage and final.
The emphasis will be on playing Under-21 players, with each team limited to just three over-age outfield players and one over-age goalkeeper.
''Each stage of a player's development is tailored to ensuring they have the best possible chance of progressing,'' Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said.
''The new Barclays Under-21 Premier League addresses one of the most critical points - the transition from academy football to the highest standards in the first team.
''We believe this competitive environment , where fans can also come along to watch the next generation of Premier League and international players, will help deliver more talented home grown boys to that next level.''
- National Group 1 - eight teams: Arsenal, Blackburn, Bolton, Everton, Norwich, Reading, West Brom, West Ham.
- National Group 2 - eight teams: Aston Villa, Manchester United, Newcastle, Southampton , Stoke, Sunderland, Tottenham, Watford.
- National Group 3 - seven teams: Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Liverpool, Manchester City, Middlesbrough, Wolves.