Full speed ahead for Study Group Scheme

UEFA's knowledge-sharing initiative for football technicians, the Study Group Scheme, will up its game once more for the new season by involving some 1,850 delegates in study visits.

One of the Study Group Scheme's technical exchanges hosted by the Football Association of Ireland
One of the Study Group Scheme's technical exchanges hosted by the Football Association of Ireland ©UEFA.com

The UEFA Study Group Scheme is ready for its biggest season yet as the third edition of the knowledge-sharing initiative for football technicians plans to involve some 1,850 delegates during the 2010/11 campaign.

The Study Group Scheme is already expected to surpass its achievements of a busy year last season for the UEFA-funded programme, which aims to improve European football's technical standards throughout the continent.

The bumper agenda which is scheduled for the new term will feature 1,850 football technicians – an increase on the 2009/10 figure of 1,700 – who will take part in study visits, or technical exchanges, which concentrate on areas such as elite youth football, coach education, grassroots and the women's game.

All 53 of UEFA's member national football associations will be represented, either as hosts or visitors, as a total of 168 groups of eleven delegates apiece travel to other national associations to swap know-how and examples of best practice. A total of 28 European FAs are signed up to stage study visits during the campaign, including Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Portugal, Romania, Turkey and Wales who will all debut as host associations.

That numbers are up for yet another season – with a projected 56 visits (each one involving three visiting associations) compared with 52 last term – is just another indicator of the scheme's significant growth, in quality as well as quantity, since its introduction in 2008. Of the 56 visits on the docket, 15 will be centred on coach education, 16 on elite youth football, 13 on grassroots football and 12 on the women's game.

Moreover, to underline UEFA's support for the programme, every member of the European governing body's Development and Technical Assistance Committee will take part in at least one seminar. UEFA's national associations director Theodore Theodoridis recently gave a ringing endorsement to the scheme, which was launched on the initiative of UEFA president Michel Platini, calling it "an ambitious and fantastic project" – "the way it is put into practice is hugely appreciated by all UEFA national association members".

Certainly, the ambitious project will start as it means to go on in 2010/11 with the Football Association of Finland (SPL-FBF) hosting Lithuania, San Marino and Azerbaijan from 30 August for the season's first study visit, focusing on women's football. September and October will then be particularly active months with 14 visits covering all four key topics of the programme.