THIS summer, some of the brightest young footballing talents in the game will be converging on Wanderers.

Played for the first time in the UK, the Iber Cup sees teams from all over the world compete in a showcase tournament which will be played both at the Eddie Davies Academy and the University of Bolton Stadium.

The tournament, now in its 10th year, has attracted the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Manchester City, Juventus, Corinthians and Palmeiras in the past and also offers opportunities for local grassroots sides to compete.

Hundreds of footballers aged eight to 16, coaches and scouts are expected to attend between May 25-28 for the Iber Cup World Final and the open showcase event – bringing a promising stream of off-season revenue into the Whites Hotel, and the local economy.

“it’s something new for us, hosting a tournament,” said James Ward, head of football provision at the club’s International Football Programme.

“We’re probably talking 200 teams in total, so it does take some organising but I think it will give Bolton Wanderers some big kudos. It’s wonderful for the club.

“It’s a global tournament but this is the first time anyone has brought it to this country so we’re really determined to make a good go of it.”

Alongside the marquee teams who have qualified for the event, local clubs are being encouraged to take part in a sister tournament.

“I think it’s a great chance for any young aspiring players to experience what it is like in the middle of a major event, to be playing and mixing with some of the biggest professional teams in the world,” he said.

“The standard of football will obviously be very high in the World Final, so to be up close and watch how those teams operate might be very beneficial and it would be great to see teams from Bolton and the North West get involved.”

Ward, alongside Danny Clarke, has helped the Wanderers IFP become an important and profitable aspect of the business in the last few years, with expansion plans for next year including trips to the United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Italy, Australia, the US, Hong Kong, China and Canada.

“Next year we’ll be in 12 different countries, so it has expanded greatly,” Ward added. “We’ve seen plenty of teams come back and stay with the hotel on group visits, use the training ground facilities and experience what life is like at a professional football club. The name of the club has definitely been taken world-wide.”

Bolton University's sports science department will also be working in conjunction with the competition to offer their assistance and give students some hands-on experience.

Registration details are available at the Iber Cup’s official website and more details can also be obtained from Margaret Graham on 01204 673610 or by emailing