Jury selects research projects for 2018/19

Seven research projects have been selected to receive grants this season as part of the UEFA Research Grant Programme, with the eventual findings to assist the European football community.


The jury for the UEFA Research Grant Programme – an initiative that supports the academic work of doctoral and post-doctoral researchers studying various different aspects of European football – has chosen the research projects that will receive grants for the 2018/19 season, the ninth year of the programme.

UEFA-funded research projects are intended to produce findings that the European football community can use to make informed decisions and that UEFA and its member associations can use to improve their activities and projects.

This year, UEFA received 55 proposals for research projects, with those projects being developed for and in conjunction with 26 different member associations – a clear sign of associations’ strong interest in relevant academic research. All 55 proposals made it through to the second assessment stage, and after a comprehensive review, the following seven were chosen by the jury:

Evaluation Good Hosting – Eine Überprüfung von Umsetzung und Wirkung in der Swiss Football League, by Alain Brechbühl, University of Bern, Switzerland. Project supported by the Swiss Football Association.

Player transition out of football to protect wellbeing: a career identity study, by Gavin Breslin, Ulster University, Northern Ireland. Project supported by the Irish Football Association.

Quantification of energy expenditure in elite youth football players: implications for population-specific sports nutrition guidelines, by James Morton, Liverpool John Moores University, England. Project supported by the English Football Association.

Why do (young) football referees quit officiating? Insights and implications, by Paul Potrac, Northumbria University, England. Project supported by the English Football Association.

Impact of sleep in young football player’s health and sport performance, by Gil Rodas, Ramon Llull University, Spain. Project supported by the Royal Spanish Football Federation.

Maturity-status ‘bio-banding’ as a tool for ongoing talent (de)selection of academy soccer players using a multi-disciplinary approach, by Christopher Towlson, University of Hull, England. Project supported by the Scottish Football Association.

Why do professional men’s football clubs invest in women’s football? An analysis of the determinants underlying integration of women’s football clubs, by Maurizio Valenti, University of Stirling, Scotland. Project supported by the Italian Football Association.

Those seven researchers will spend the next nine months carrying out their research in cooperation with the supporting national associations, before presenting their findings to UEFA next year.

“The jury is very pleased with the research projects it has selected for this new cycle of the programme. That being said, it was hard to choose, given the large number of very high-quality and highly diverse proposals, which reflects UEFA member associations’ growing interest in tackling strategic issues in cooperation with academics. The jury is confident that these research projects will produce useful insights for the supporting member associations and many other European football stakeholders,” said the chairman of the jury, Michel D’Hooghe.

Final presentations
The researchers who received grants for the 2017/18 season have now made their final presentations to the jury after carrying out the following research projects:

Supporting the football global coach through cross-cultural training, by Mario Borges, London South Bank University, England. Project supported by the Portuguese Football Federation.

Scheduling of concurrent training preceding acute non-contact injuries in elite European football players, by Kevin Enright, Liverpool John Moores University, England. Project supported by the English Football Association.

A tale of clubs, leagues and countries: the impact of the Africa Cup of Nations on European professional football, by Levi Pérez, University of Oviedo, Spain. Project supported by the Royal Spanish Football Federation.

The working practices and operational environments of referees from a transnational comparative perspective, by Tom Webb, University of Portsmouth, England. Project supported by the Royal Netherlands Football Association.

The jury of the UEFA Research Grant Programme comprises five representatives of the European football family and five academics known internationally for their work on sport and European football. This year, the jury welcomed three new members, with Edvinas Eimontas, Nathalie Iannetta Sabattier and Giangiorgio Spiess stepping down and being replaced by Evelina Christillin, Alfred Ludwig, and Hannu Tihinen.

UEFA Research Grant Programme jury

Representatives of the European football community:

• Dr Michel D’Hooghe (chairman of the UEFA Medical Committee and the UEFA Research Grant Programme jury)
• Evelina Christillin (member of the FIFA Council) – new
• Alfred Ludwig (former chief executive of the Austrian Football Association) – new
• Ivančica Sudac (head of international affairs and licensing at the Croatian Football Federation)
• Hannu Tihinen (sporting director at the Football Association of Finland and a former international player) – new

University representatives:

• Prof. Susan Bridgewater (University of Liverpool, England)
• Prof. Paul Downward (Loughborough University, England)
• Prof. Jan Ekstrand (former vice-chairman of the UEFA Medical Committee, professor at Linköping University, Sweden)
• Prof. Jürgen Mittag (German Sport University, Cologne, Germany)
• Prof. Fabien Ohl (University of Lausanne, Switzerland)

The jury of the UEFA Research Grant Programme together with the researchers who received grants for the 2017/18 season and made their final presentations to the jury in July.

Top row (left to right): Alfred Ludwig, Prof. Paul Downward, Prof. Susan Bridgewater, Hannu Tihinen, Ivančica Sudac, Dr Michel D’Hooghe, Evelina Christillin, Prof. Jürgen Mittag, Prof. Fabien Ohl and Prof. Jan Ekstrand.

Bottom row (left to right): Tom Webb, Levi Pérez, Mario Borges and Kevin Enright.

This article appeared originally in UEFA Direct No 180