WHITGIFT School will play St Francis Xavier's College (Liverpool) in the final of the Premier League U16 Schools Cup tonight (Wednesday). The final will be held at the Britannia Stadium, home of Stoke City. Both schools beat out competition from over 700 schools and won their previous nine matches to gain the opportunity to play in the national final. The competition, organised by the English Schools FA, has been running for 40 years and has had the support of the Premier League for more than two decades. This season the Premier League has provided extra support to the competition, giving the participating players a 'once in a lifetime' experience. Each quarter-finalist received a new playing kit from the Premier League while both semi-final matches were held at a Premier League training grounds (Everton's Finch Farm and Chelsea's Cobham). The final incentive for the top two teams will be the chance to lift a replica of the Barclays Premier League Trophy which has been commissioned for the competition. Chief Executive of the English Schools FA, John Read, said: "The continued support of the Premier League allows us to run a first-rate schools competition which is growing each year, whilst developing individual players for their schools." Premier League General Secretary, Nic Coward, said: "The fact that more than 700 schools entered the Premier League U16s Schools Cup shows why we see working with schools and the English Schools FA as so important. "Schools are the sporting hubs of many communities, as are each of the 20 Premier League Clubs, and bringing the two together is what the partnership is all about." A special aspect of the final is that both schools are the alma maters of current Premier League stars. Liverpool defender Jon Flanagan attended St Francis Xavier's College while Chelsea's Victor Moses, who is currently on loan at Liverpool, attended Whitgift School and won the U14 ESFA Cup with them in 2004/05.
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