Villa Academy Director Bryan Jones has expressed his "bitter disappointment" following the suspension of youth football's NextGen Series for the 2013-14 season.
A Villa team featuring Samir Carruthers, Janoi Donacien, Jack Grealish, Graham Burke and Mikey Drennan advanced to the final last season in Lake Como in which the young Lions prevailed 2-0 against Chelsea.
Due to there being no secure funding or the required financial partner in place, the tournament has been suspended in its third year, a setback which will impact on the fixture schedules for the forthcoming season.
"We're bitterly disappointed by this and we feel let down," Academy Director Jones emphasised.
"The organisers have worked hard to secure a sponsor for the tournament but the deadline has passed without success and therefore we're left with this highly unsatisfactory situation.
"The competition is one of the greatest development tools for young professional players in this country, providing as it does elite competition against some of the best clubs around Europe, and it will be lost to us this season. It's shameful and it's hugely disappointing."
Organisers insisted that the decision to suspend the NextGen Series for one season will give them time to focus on securing the appropriate sponsor, with the aim of relaunching the event in 2014-15.
The tournament has featured the U19 teams of premier clubs around Europe since its inception in 2011 and has contributed immensely in the development of many young players.
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