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Fenix Trophy: Europe's Hidden Tournament

In 2021, the UEFA Conference League was founded, becoming Europe's third major competition and rightfully gaining a lot of notoriety; however, another much smaller tournament, the FENIX Trophy, was also founded in the same year.

The Fenix Trophy was founded in 2021 by Italian club Brera Calcio and was officially recognised by UEFA; it involves European amateur and semi-professional clubs (each one is paired with a charity partner) who are specifically chosen for their exceptional social, historical and cultural distinctiveness.

In the tournament's first edition, the teams represented 7 European countries: Italy, Spain, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic and the United Kingdom. The 8 clubs were chosen to compete for a variety of reasons: clubs rebuilt and run by the fans, clubs that feature significant social and cultural projects or clubs with extraordinary communication skills which can be described as a network between "cult" non-professional clubs, with the first edition being won by FC United Of Manchester.

In the 2022/23 season, the format changed. The number of teams and countries represented increased from the previous year, with 9 clubs from Italy, Spain, Poland, Belgium, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Denmark, Serbia and the Czech Republic taking each other on in the revamped format of the tournament with Danish side BK Skjold from Copenhagen winning the second edition of the tournament.

The 23/24 edition of the tournament began in September 2023. It expanded once again, with the number of clubs increasing to 12 across 10 countries: Poland, Belgium, Wales, England, Denmark, Romania, France, Finland, Norway, and the Czech Republic.

The group stages for this year's tournament are coming to a close this next week, with the final four taking place from 10-12 May in Brescia. It looks to be dominated this year by the three English representatives of Enfield Town, FC United of Manchester and Lewes Fc, who all currently top their respective groups and all look likely to reach the finals; the remaining team that could stop this English dominance is the sole representative of the Czech Republic the Prague Raptors.

The competition's meaning goes beyond football. The Fenix trophy is a sporting exchange meant to highlight the best practices within non-professional football, such as sporting conduct and bonds with the local community, sustainability, their usage of technology, and a mutual friendship between clubs involved and, ultimately, a statement to showcase how football should be treated and the link between the community should not be forgotten. This tournament is a much-deserved reward for the clubs involved.

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