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EA SPORTS will become the title sponsor of the EA SPORTS National Underage Leagues as the 2021 season prepares to get underway.

EA SPORTS have been long-time supporters of Irish football having previously been title sponsors of the League Cup since 2009 and this new partnership will see EA SPORTS sponsor all League, Shield and Cup competitions across both male and female academy systems.

With Government approval to return to play now in place, the new season will kick-off on the week ending June 27th and there are some exciting changes to look out for, including:

• The Women’s National League has added a new tier at Under 19 level.
• Waterford FC are new additions to the expanding Women’s National League with the introduction of their Under 17 team.
• Underage Finals will be live streamed, with full match commentary, on LOITV at the end of the season.
• The Men's Under 13 League has been revised to an Under 14 League.

Speaking on the new announcement, newly appointed League of Ireland Academy Development Manager, Will Clarke said: “We are very excited with the prospect of collaborating with EA SPORTS to further enhance the development of our League of Ireland academy system and we are delighted that a brand such as EA SPORTS sees the potential in our underage game. We look forward to working closely with EA SPORTS in the coming years.”

League of Ireland Director, Mark Scanlon said: “I am delighted to welcome EA SPORTS on board as sponsor of this crucial part of the League of Ireland structure. This partnership will help strengthen the development of the game and further support the great work that League of Ireland clubs perform with young players as they progress through the game, and hopefully into first team football with their clubs.”

FAI Partnerships Manager Conor Cullen said: “We are delighted to renew our long-standing partnership with EA SPORTS, and to welcome them as the Title Sponsor of the EA SPORTS National Underage Leagues. EA SPORTS are a globally-recognised brand, and through their popular FIFA video game series, they engage with millions of football fans on a day-to-day basis. We are looking forward to working with them to build the profile of what is a key area of the domestic game.”

EA SPORTS FIFA Marketing Director, James Salmon said: “EA SPORTS have had a long-standing partnership with the FAI and we’re thrilled to continue our association by becoming the official sponsor of the National Underage Leagues. As the pipeline for aspiring young talent to move through the Elite Player Pathway this partnership reinforces our commitment to grassroots football. Through our collaboration with the FAI we look forward to continuing to support clubs, players and fans across the country.”Click here to download the EA SPORTS National Underage Leagues booklet with competition details, groupings and fixtures...

Format Explainer

Below is a guide to the format of the individual leagues:

• Men's Under 19: Two groups; each playing one series of games. The competition then splits with the top ten teams progressing to the League phase and the remaining teams competing in a Shield competition.
• Men's Under 17: Three groups; each playing one series of games. The competition then splits with the top nine teams progressing to the League phase (top three teams in each group) and the remaining teams competing in the Shield competition.
• Men's Under 15: Five groups; each playing two series of games. The competition then splits with the top ten teams progressing to the League and the remaining teams competing in the Shield competition.
• Men's Under 14: Five groups; each playing two series of games. The competition then splits with the top ten teams progressing to the League and the remaining teams competing in the Shield competition.
• Women's Under 19: Two groups; each playing one series of games. The competition then splits with the top five teams (top two teams in each group and the best third place team) progressing to the League phase and the remaining teams competing in a Shield competition.
• Women's Under 17: Three groups; each playing one series of games. The competition then splits with the top eight teams progressing to the League phase (top two teams in each group and two of the best third-placed teams) and the remaining teams competing in the Shield competition.

*All age groups will also compete in a Cup competition