UEFA has officially launched the UEFA Academy, bringing together all of the organisation's educational initiatives with the aim of helping to develop those who are involved in football.
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Managing and organising modern-day football is a challenging task. The complex infrastructures and mechanisms that are now in place mean that professional and qualified people are required to grow and lead the game throughout Europe.
UEFA's role is to promote, protect and develop football, with the organisation caring deeply about the long-term well-being of the sport in Europe. Part of UEFA's mission is to ensure that the game is nurtured across the continent, which includes guiding and educating people who work in football at all levels.
"In connection with UEFA's core mission of promoting, protecting and developing the game, the UEFA Academy will make sure that, no matter where they are in their careers, everyone working in football has the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge they need to continuously elevate the game," said UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin.
Over the last decade, UEFA has shown a strong commitment to championing the values of education. With the number of programmes continuing to rise, these learning initiatives have now been combined under the umbrella of the recently unveiled UEFA Academy. This also makes it easier for potential applicants to find the course that is right for them.
What does the UEFA Academy offer?
Over a thousand people have already graduated from UEFA's various educational programmes, including members from all 55 UEFA national associations – many of whom have managed to advance their careers from these initiatives.
At present UEFA offers 15 courses, six of which feature an academic certificate. These cater for a diverse audience, from former footballers to those working in football bodies around the continent and beyond, via those looking to specialise in particular disciplines such as law or medical education.
"Football is a beautifully simple game but the organisation of the sport has become a very complex industry," said UEFA's head of national associations education and research, Thomas Junod. "One just has to look at UEFA, where there are hundreds of people all involved in different football specialities. Therefore it is vitally important that we can provide educational programmes to train people in activities as diverse as football competition management or dealing with medical and legal aspects within the game."
Aside from the specific programmes for coaches and referees devised by UEFA's specialised units, the UEFA Academy proposes development opportunities for everyone working in the football industry.
The UEFA Academy is split into five main pillars of learning:
• Management programmes – UEFA offers three different initiatives: the UEFA Certificate in Football Management (UEFA CFM), the UEFA Diploma in Football Leadership and Management (UEFA DFLM) and the Executive Master in Sport Governance (MESGO). These courses cater for people at different stages of their careers and afford excellent understandings of how the footballing landscape operates.
• Programmes for specialists – These programmes are suitable for specialists in certain fields: Law, Medical, Football and Social Responsibility (FSR) and Events. These initiatives give professionals the chance to enhance their careers within their respective domains.
• Programmes for players – These programmes grant players a route into a second career in football and provide them with recommendations and advice in specific fields such as financial management. The soon-to-be-launched UEFA for Players will lend assistance to players during their careers in a whole range of different categories, from dealing with the media to avoiding the pitfalls of match-fixing.
• Knowledge sharing and research – These initiatives notably allow an opportunity for researchers and scientists to apply for grants through the UEFA Research programme and enable national associations to access best practices on a vast number of domains through the UEFA PLAY platform.
• On-demand education – The UEFA Academy listens to the needs of stakeholders in football and, upon request, is able to develop tailor-made programmes for sports institutions. The UEFA Academy has developed a practical-oriented programme for the general secretaries of the Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF) as part of the UEFA ASSIST scheme.
Anyone can join
Finding a path to working in football administration can be daunting. However, the UEFA Academy is now opening its doors to members of the general public who will have the chance to enrol on the UEFA Certificate in Football Management (UEFA CFM) programme.
The UEFA CFM will appeal to those working in or connected to the football industry. The nine-month course already has over 800 graduates and is based on a blended learning concept, which involves face-to-face seminars, online learning modules and written academic assignments.
Those graduating will have acquired a comprehensive understanding of the soccer industry from all angles as well as having the opportunity to strengthen their managerial skills.
"There are a lot of people who are connected and interested in football but who did not have the opportunity to join the UEFA Certificate in Football Management because they do not work at a national association," said Junod.
"The open edition of the UEFA CFM now gives the opportunity to anyone connected with football to access this programme which can be considered as a reference in the football industry. This open edition will be accessible to those who still want to remain in full-time employment, as the course is specially adapted to suit their needs."
UEFA will continue to monitor the changing climate of European football. It is imperative for the UEFA Academy to remain innovative and that the programmes are constantly updated to meet changing needs and expectations.
By ensuring that people involved in football are given chances to learn and expand their understanding of the industry, the UEFA Academy aims to help the game remain the world's number one sport.
For more in-depth information about the UEFA Academy and the courses it has to offer, please visit the UEFA Academy website: https://uefaacademy.com/