The third season of UEFA's study group scheme – in which national associations exchange technical expertise for the overall benefit of European football – is coming to a close, with the European governing body and its 53 member associations more than ever convinced of the project's value.
The scheme, an initiative of UEFA President Michel Platini, aims to facilitate the greater exchange of technical know-how. Member associations visit one another to share knowledge, experience and best practice in coach education, elite youth, women's and grassroots football. The study group scheme also works to raise pan-European standards through, for example, visits by association specialists – with the help of UEFA funding – to gather technical knowledge at other associations, as well as at club level.
A coach education seminar in Norway and women's football deliberations in Scotland – the latter featuring the host FA, Finland, Poland and the Faroe Islands – bring the curtain down on a campaign that has seen the study group scheme go from strength to strength.
Feedback has been extremely positive since the initiative began in 2008, and in December 2010 UEFA's Executive Committee decided to make the scheme a long-term education programme. In total, 156 seminars have taken place so far – 46 on elite youth football, 44 on coach education, 35 on grassroots and 31 on women's football. These have been hosted by 30 different associations and have involved some 5,000 technicians from around Europe, as well as all members of the UEFA Development and Technical Assistance Committee.
Now a fourth season of the scheme is eagerly anticipated. Planning for 2011/12 is finalised, with 55 seminars in 30 associations planned and approximately 1,800 coaches set to take part. Coach education, elite youth football, grassroots football and women's football will remain the main topics.
"In addition, we are looking forward to a new element of the scheme." UEFA's head of football education services, Frank Ludolph, explained to UEFA.com. "It has been decided to run four pilot seminars specifically designed for goalkeeping coach educators. Three technicians from all UEFA member associations will be invited to take part in this pilot scheme in the course of 2011/12."
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