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UEFA CFM graduation ceremony in Germany

The UEFA Certificate in Football Management programme is helping football staff improve their skills across Europe, and Germany is the latest country to stage a graduation ceremony.

Participants and guests at the UEFA CFM graduation ceremony in Frankfurt
Participants and guests at the UEFA CFM graduation ceremony in Frankfurt ©DFB

The UEFA Certificate in Football Management (UEFA CFM) education programme continues to expand its international horizons, giving football administration staff across Europe the invaluable opportunity to develop and enhance their managerial skills – for the overall good of the European game.

The participants in the German edition are the latest to graduate from a national edition of the UEFA CFM, in which participants acquire skills related to management techniques and best practices in a variety of areas, helping them make the jump to senior executive level in the future, while making constant use of what they have learned through their CFM studies. The graduation ceremony for the 19 participants in the German edition took place at the German Football Association (DFB) headquarters in Frankfurt on 11 December.

Graduates not only came from the DFB and German regional associations, but the programme's international character was also fully reflected in the participation of UEFA staff members as well as staff from the French Football Federation (FFF), Russian Football Union (RFS), Slovak Football Association (SFZ) and Turkish Football Association (TFF).

The UEFA CFM is a nine-month programme with studies into topics including football organisation, strategy and strategic management, operational management, marketing and sponsorship, communications, media and public relations, and event organisation.

The programme, which features six interactive online modules and three face-to-face seminars, is being offered within various European national associations, and content is being adapted to local contexts, while the overall values inherent in the programme are always maintained. The Swiss Graduate School of Public Administration (IDHEAP) awards the certificates, and the course has been prepared and is conducted by respected academics from universities in France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

A guest at the German graduation ceremony was DFB president and UEFA Executive Committee member Wolfgang Niersbach. "It really has a big value, it's a 'must' to practise and to develop activities," he said of the UEFA CFM. "While the football field has remained the same size [in history], the jobs around the football field are growing. When I began as chief press officer with the DFB in 1988, we had 65 employees, including our national leagues – now we have 270, excluding the professional league, and there is a need to have a strong organisation and a strong administration.

"I remember the time when UEFA had 34 member associations, now we have 54," he added, "which means that we have new associations without [major] experience. UEFA's goal should be to bring them up to the same level – because European football is strong when we can work together."

The CFM graduates from the German edition have derived various benefits from this innovative programme. "It was great to meet people from the other national associations and to work with them and get to know what they do and what their strengths are," said Patrizia Hell, the German women's national team manager. "The best thing is the combination between the online modules, which are very flexible for your time management," added Felix Jäckle, head of sports at the Bavarian Football Association, "and the face-to-face seminars, where you come into direct contact with other students and academic experts."

"We, as employees of the national associations and regional associations, received a high-profile path of education parallel to our normal job, and I give UEFA and the DFB a lot of credit for that," was the viewpoint of Johannes Klotz, working in operations at the DFB. "It was impressive to [hear] people from other national associations and hear how they solve the same problems."

Fittingly for this pan-European initiative, the last word goes to a visiting graduate – Andrej Rozvadsky, financial expert of the licensing committee at the SFZ: "The best aspect of the CFM is professionalism – we get clear guidance on a very professional level on how to plan, perform and finally measure all the activities that we do at the national association."