Europe's national coaches and technical directors from UEFA's 53 member national associations will be in Warsaw this week to look back at UEFA EURO 2012 – and debate the future development of the European game in the wake of the summer's extremely successful and entertaining tournament in Poland and Ukraine.
The tenth UEFA Conference for European National Team Coaches from Monday to Wednesday brings the European coaching and technical community back to Poland for in-depth discussions which have become a traditional fixture on the UEFA calendar in the September following a FIFA World Cup or EURO final round. Participants – who also include the UEFA Development and Technical Assistance Committee and the UEFA Football Committee – will meet in plenary sessions and take part in discussion groups to create an overall picture of where European football is heading in the wake of what was universally acclaimed as a splendid EURO.
"European football provided three of the four semi-finalists at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, and the technical level shown in Poland and Ukraine is indicative of the high quality of the game on our continent," says UEFA President Michel Platini in his welcome message to the conference. "That said, European football must always resist the temptation to rest on its laurels and must constantly strive for improvement in all aspects of the game.
"The key to continuing success is player development and top-notch technical leadership, and in that respect the national team coaches and technical directors taking part in this conference in Warsaw play an extremely important role. It is up to them to create the best possible player development pathways, including the educational transmission of the right values, to make success possible at the top."
The conference will feature interviews with Spain's UEFA EURO 2012-winning coach Vicente del Bosque, as well as the other coaches who reached the last four of the competition – Cesare Prandelli (Italy), Joachim Löw (Germany) and Paulo Bento (Portugal). The four will offer an insight into their work and the reasons for their sides' success in Poland and Ukraine, while UEFA chief refereeing officer Pierluigi Collina will examine the tournament from a refereeing angle. UEFA's Referees Committee has expressed its overall satisfaction at the standards set by the referee teams at EURO – when additional assistant referees were deployed ahead of their inclusion in the Laws of the game after the tournament.
The goals, memorable moves, key players and crucial coaching decisions and choices will come under the spotlight, and the UEFA EURO 2012 technical team – the group of experienced technicians who observed each match – will be giving their thoughts in a panel discussion ahead of the publication of their technical report on the finals.
UEFA's national coaches' conferences took shape in the mid-1990s. "When I was manager of Scotland," said UEFA technical director Andy Roxburgh, "I attended a post-tournament meeting of the eight coaches who took part in EURO '92. As soon as I started at UEFA, the first major event I organised was a national coaches' conference after the World Cup in 1994. What I did at that point was to invite every country to come, whether they had participated or not. I felt that everybody should be able to benefit from the feedback and share in the discussion after such a tournament."
The gathering has also been extended to include the people who are influencing the technical futures at the European national associations. "Subsequently, we have added the associations' technical directors, who can take the information and feed it into their long-term work in player development and coach education," Roxburgh explained.
As with the UEFA Elite Club Coaches Forum, the event gives the coaches a chance to swap ideas away from their everyday pressures. "It is a platform for participants to come together and exchange views, and to have the opportunity to offer proposals back to UEFA," said Roxburgh. "They talk football, collect information and material from UEFA, and meet colleagues away from the front line."
The deliberations in Warsaw will also attest to the value of national-team football. "EURO 2012 once again confirmed the importance of international football and its place at the top table in the game," Roxburgh continued. "It brings a style and audience with it, because the audience for national-team football may not be the same type of audience you get for domestic club football or UEFA Champions League matches. It activates a whole country – everybody in the country is supporting that team, there are no domestic rivalries."
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