With the fourth season of the successful UEFA Study Group Scheme under way, the Scottish Football Association (SFA) has hosted an exchange visit on grassroots football for visitors from the associations of Montenegro (FSCG), San Marino (FSGC) and Switzerland (SFV-ASF).
Held in mid-September, the four-day session offered the SFA the opportunity to showcase a grassroots programme which has earned the maximum six-star status in the UEFA Grassroots Charter. The gathering also enabled each association to share knowledge, experience and best practice with the aim of improving their own grassroots structures in the future.
The meeting began at Hampden Park in Glasgow where delegates heard from SFA president Campbell Ogilvie about the vision and direction of the association, including its commitment to grassroots football. Other presentations included talks from SFA head of regional development Andy Gould, cashback for communities project manager Donald Gillies, national disability football manager Stuart Sharp, and head of girls and women's football Sheila Begbie; the visiting associations also got the chance to present an overview of their work.
In addition the SFA arranged a series of practical sessions to demonstrate its grassroots programme in action. The group visited Toryglen Regional Football Centre – where a youth licence assessment was in progress – community club Spartans FC in Edinburgh and finally Craigroyston Community High School, where delegates witnessed the workings of a School of Football.
"The Scottish FA may have been the UEFA Grassroots Study Group host, but the focus of the event was not just on our programmes and processes, but sharing best practice between everyone involved," Gillies told UEFA.com.
"The catalyst for discussion was the various initiatives revolving around the grassroots game in Scotland, from our Cashback for Communities programmes to coach and volunteer recruitment. We were delighted to host the group and hope that the short stay was as valuable for our visitors as it was for us."
Overall, 54 UEFA Study Group seminars are scheduled across Europe during the 2011/12 season, with all 53 UEFA national associations featuring in at least one event. Over the scheme's first three campaigns, a total of 156 gatherings have taken place on elite youth football, coach education, women's football and the grassroots game. This term, additional pilot sessions are being staged for goalkeeper coach educators.
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