The competition, which does not yet have the blessing of UEFA, would include eight under-21 teams from England and eight from other countries, including Scottish champions Celtic.
But the Premier League claims the competition would not be a rival to FA chairman Greg Dyke's ambitions for some form of 'B-league' involving top-flight reserve teams.
In May, Dyke's England Commission proposed a B league to operate below League Two which is aimed at giving young players more match experience - something the new Premier League competition also aims to do.
Communications director Dan Johnson said the Premier League's proposal had been under consideration for several years and was completely unrelated to Dyke's scheme.
"We do believe it would be good for the development of talented young players but it is not an answer to the B league proposal at all. It is something we have wanted to do for a number of years," Johnson said.
"We are keen to work with UEFA on what we think is a good development opportunity and there has been a lot of support from clubs on the continent.
"Our view is that an under-21 competition with a significant programme of international fixtures at lower age levels is a good opportunity to expose players to this level of competition.
"We now need to work with UEFA for their agreement."
The new competition would see 16 clubs split into four groups of four with the top two in each group going through to the knockout stage.
Current plans are for the top eight from the Premier League's under-21 development league to take part, although Liverpool have already decided not to take up the chance, allowing West Ham in.
Chelsea, Fulham, Leicester, Manchester City, Manchester United, Southampton, Sunderland and West Ham would compete from that league along with Celtic, Athletic Bilbao, Benfica, Borussia Monchengladbach, Schalke, Porto, PSV Eindhoven and Villarreal.