After football’s longest period of inactivity since WWII, our official magazine looks at what it took to get UEFA competitions off and running again in August.
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In the tough months of uncertainty when the COVID-19 pandemic brought football to a standstill, UEFA joined forces with Europe’s national associations, clubs and leagues to draw up a unique blueprint to return to play. The latest issue of UEFA Direct (No.191) gives an in-depth account of how European football overcame unprecedented obstacles to ease domestic and UEFA competitions back into business.
In this edition:
• Aleksander Čeferin: In a wide-ranging interview, the UEFA President underlines how a common spirit of unity and solidarity has driven the work to put football back on track
• Preparing to play: Challenges faced by the decision-makers in planning football’s return; factors and criteria behind key decisions; and how UEFA will ensure the safety and health of everyone involved in its matches
• Return to Play timeline: New dates for this and next season’s club competitions, plus all the revised national team competition schedules
• UEFA Strategy: How UEFA’s five-year business plan aims to help European football withstand the shock of COVID-19 and adapt to sport’s ‘new normal’
The Technician supplement: Coaches, players, referees - and an astronaut
As elite football competitions resume across Europe, UEFA Direct and its technical supplement, The Technician, report on the way football’s specialists have adapted to the unique situation:
• Trainers: How trainers have helped players maintain fitness during the long COVID-19 lockdown; and the challenges of getting them match fit again
• Referees: UEFA’s lockdown training programme has helped Europe’s top referees keep in shape… physically and mentally
• Fitness coaches: The dangers of returning to football after a long pause and limited preparation time; and possible steps to reduce the risk of injury
• Experts: Expert opinion on the positives taken and lessons learned from the COVID-19 crisis
• Astronauts: French astronaut Thomas Pesquet offers key lessons for footballers from his six months in space
National associations: Coping with COVID-19
UEFA’s 55 member associations give a Europe-wide perspective on how different football associations have coped with the COVID-19 crisis and what will be their future challenges in a changed world.
Elsewhere in UEFA Direct 191:
• Football Federations of the Future: The UEFA GROW initiative enabling national associations to establish clear visions and strong strategies
• Club Licensing Report: How the system is implemented across Europe
• UEFA’s Coaching Convention: Setting benchmarks for the future
• UEFA Football and Social Responsibility Report: Showcasing football’s power to help sustainable development
• UEFA Foundation for Children: Five years of bringing light to children’s lives