UEFA and Europe's top club coaches have met in Nyon to exchange opinions and ideas on the European club competitions and the development of the game.
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Europe’s foremost club coaches came to the House of European Football in Nyon on Tuesday to swap opinions and ideas with UEFA, debate the development of UEFA’s club competitions, and talk about the future of the European game.
The crème de la crème of European club coaching focussed, among other things, on transfer matters such as the harmonisation of transfer windows, and refereeing issues, including the video assistant referee (VAR) system.
Discussions also centred on a review of tactical and technical aspects of last season’s European club competitions, as well as a look ahead to the 2018/19 UEFA club competitions, which get underway this month.
The annual UEFA Elite Club Coaches' Forum first took place in 1999, and gives coaches the chance to meet together and talk in a relaxed atmosphere away from their high-profile, high-pressure everyday environments.
The coaches – who have accumulated a considerable collection of honours between them – are in an ideal position to offer invaluable advice to UEFA, given their roles and experience. “It’s important for us to meet, and for us to hear your expertise,” UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin told the coaches in opening the meeting.
UEFA listens to the coaches' feedback at the forum and expresses its own views, and the various thoughts and proposals are then examined by UEFA’s various committees, expert panels and specialist bodies.
"Discussions were intensive," said UEFA's Deputy General Secretary Giorgio Marchetti. "We undertook a long technical review of the season - a topic which is the coaches' bread and butter. We also took them through certain changes to the regulations which are important for them, such as the possibility to make a fourth substitution in extra time."
"We discussed the summer transfer windows - the coaches were of the view that there should be a unified window - and that the window should not overlap with the start of competitions."
UEFA's chief refereeing officer Roberto Rosetti gave a technical presentation of various video assistant referee (VAR) situations that occurred at the FIFA World Cup in Russia this summer. Finally, the coaches asked UEFA to undertake a review of the away-goals rule in European competitions.
The coaches themselves also see the forum as a chance to hear new ideas themselves, not only from UEFA, but also from counterparts at other clubs.
"There are always important topics at this forum which need to be discussed." was the view of Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri. "Every year, we put forward ideas, some of which have been put into practice, and they are all intended to improve football."
"These forums are interesting occasions," added Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti. "We reflect on the technical and tactical side of the game, and how football is changing."
"Part of a coach’s education is through these events that give you a chance to talk with others and get to know people," he added.
Since 2013, UEFA has invited coaches who have overseen more than 100 UEFA Champions League appearances, as well as coaches from the UEFA Champions League round of 16 clubs and UEFA Europa League semi-finalists.
The distinguished group of coaches who came to Nyon for the latest meeting comprised Massimiliano Allegri (Juventus), Carlo Ancelotti (Napoli), Rafael Benítez (Newcastle United), Sérgio Conceição (Porto), Paulo Fonseca (Shakhtar Donetsk), Rudi Garcia (Olympique de Marseille), Şenol Güneş (Beşiktaş), Julen Lopetegui (Real Madrid), José Mourinho (Manchester United), Diego Simeone (Atlético de Madrid), Thomas Tuchel (Paris Saint-Germain) and former Arsenal coach Arsène Wenger.