UEFA's commitment to developing and nurturing the technical sector of European football has reaped handsome dividends over the years.
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UEFA's commitment to developing and nurturing the technical sector of European football has reaped handsome dividends over the years, with the result that the European governing body has set new and impressive standards, in conjunction with its 55 member associations.
Football education activities; the further development and training of coaches; promotion and protection of the coaching profession, analysis of the latest tactical and technical trends in UEFA's elite and youth competitions; the tending of football's grassroots; giving crucial international experience to developing young footballers – European football's constant development on the field and from the touchline is within the remit of a dedicated UEFA team.
UEFA's football education services handle the important area of coach education, in particular through specific events and workshops. UEFA has given considerable priority to the topic of coach education – "coaching the coaches" - over the years, based on the view that well-educated coaches will help to produce well-trained footballers and increase overall standards throughout Europe. Specific coach education in areas such as goalkeeping, futsal and football fitness trends is also bringing new dimensions to the services' work.
Coach education in Europe is regulated by the UEFA Coaching Convention, established to regulate coach education throughout Europe, to improve coaching standards across the continent and facilitate the cross-border movement of coaches.
Coaching events also bring coaches together to discuss and analyse developments – the UEFA National Team Coaches Conference, held after each major national team final round, and the Elite Club Coaches' Forum, staged at the start of each season, bring fresh insights and new ideas to the table for the top-level game in particular.
Educational tools are produced and disseminated, including technical reports for the various European competitions, DVDs, and regular issues of UEFA's official coaching publication The Technician, which appears as a supplement in the UEFA Direct magazine.
Working in harmony with the UEFA national associations is bringing handsome rewards for UEFA and its technical team. The UEFA Study Group Scheme sees the associations visiting each other to exchange ideas and knowledge, and swap best practices on coach education, women's football and grassroots football. Meanwhile, Pro licence student exchange courses are providing an invaluable source of knowledge and information for the budding professional coaches of the future.
Tending the grassroots is a vital UEFA priority, in accordance with the viewpoint that the elite level of the game cannot flourish without a healthy basis, and given that football should be open to everyone. The UEFA Grassroots Week celebrates football's essential soul across the continent. UEFA's grassroots awards reward excellence in the grassroots sector, and the UEFA Grassroots Charter is stimulating national associations to further develop their domestic grassroots activities.
Finally, young footballers are being given a wonderful chance to showcase their talents and make crucial progress as players through UEFA's international development tournaments. As part of UEFA's ongoing efforts to develop football across Europe, and in response to feedback received from the UEFA member associations, UEFA – with its technical team playing a sterling role – has successfully launched the development tournaments to offer young footballing talents an additional opportunity to play competitive international matches.
UEFA EURO 2016 technical report
UEFA EURO 2012 technical report
UEFA Coaching Convention 2015
UEFA Women's EURO 2017 - tournament review
UEFA Under-21 Tournament Review 2017
2016/17 UEFA Champions League technical report
2016/17 UEFA Europa League technical report
2015/16 UEFA Champions League technical report
2015/16 UEFA Europa League technical report
2014/15 UEFA Champions League season review
2014/15 UEFA Europa League season review
2013/14 UEFA Champions League technical report
2013/14 UEFA Europa League technical report
UEFA Futsal EURO 2014 tournament review
Women's Champions League technical report: 2014/15
UEFA believes that coaches and coach educators have a vital role in the development of players and the game. The UEFA Coaching Convention sets out the legal framework, and the UEFA coaching programme aims to develop coaching and coach education through a variety of projects and events.
The UEFA Coaching Convention
In 1997, European football's governing body established the UEFA Convention on the Mutual Recognition of Coaching Qualifications. Its objective was to protect the coaching profession, improve coaching standards and prepare the way for the free movement of qualified coaches within Europe in accordance with European law. The first six associations received UEFA’s endorsement in 1998.
The convention guarantees a unified and minimum level of education, and UEFA endorses licences at Pro, A, B, Elite Youth A, Goalkeeping A and Futsal B levels. These licences are issued by member associations whose courses meet the minimum criteria and standards set out by UEFA. The document was revised in 2008, and again in 2015, and currently more than 200,000 coaches possess UEFA-endorsed football coaching licences.
The UEFA coaching programme
The UEFA coaching programme offers each UEFA member association continuous and bespoke support, designed to meet their specific needs. In addition to this tailor-made assistance, UEFA encourages the exchange of ideas and knowledge, and organises regular conferences, workshops and programmes for various target groups with the overall aim of improving European coaching.
Clubs: The continent's leading club coaches gather at the UEFA Elite Club Coaches Forum held at UEFA's headquarters in Nyon at the start of each season, and discuss technical issues and the development of European club football.
National teams: A conference for national team coaches is held after each UEFA European Championship (EURO), where the competition is reviewed from a technical perspective. The last such meeting took place in Paris in September 2016, with the focus on UEFA EURO 2016.
Women's football: A similar conference for women's national team coaches takes place after each UEFA Women's EURO. The third edition was held in Amsterdam in November 2017.
UEFA runs a regular workshop for national association coach educators. The latest was held in Belfast in October 2017.
Pro licence students
An exchange programme for national associations' UEFA Pro Licence students gives participants direct access to UEFA content and tutors during four-day seminars at UEFA's headquarters in Nyon.
UEFA caters for the needs of specialist coaching areas with specific courses for goalkeeping coaches, fitness coaches and futsal coaches.
Study Group Scheme
The project, launched in 2008, allows national associations the choice of a wide menu of topics and sub-topics, and the opportunity to attend UEFA-funded events which allow national associations to share knowledge, experience and best practice.
A team of technical observers follows every UEFA competition. They produce reports which identify key success factors, technical trends and tactical innovations on show. These reports are then distributed throughout Europe, and feed into national association's coach education programmes.
The Technician is UEFA Direct's coaching supplement and features interviews with high-profile coaches, as well as technical articles on a variety of topics."
2017/18 UEFA Champions League technical report
2017/18 UEFA Europa League technical report
UEFA Futsal EURO 2018 tournament review
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The Technician 2017/18
The Technician 2016/17
Grassroots football is all football that is non-professional and non-elite. This includes, but is not limited to, children's football, schools and youth football, amateur football, football for disabled players, football for veterans and walking football. In short, grassroots football is football played by the masses at a level where participation and a love of the game are the driving forces.
Football brings benefits to society as a whole, as it is not only about the game itself, but instilling values including teamwork, social development, health, fitness and personal fulfilment. The game is a vehicle for educational, social and sporting development, and as such, UEFA invests heavily in grassroots football to ensure that everybody has the opportunity to be involved in the game, regardless of age, ability, ethnicity, race, religion or sexual identity.
Research shows that when young grassroots players have positive experiences, their lifelong participation as players, coaches, leaders, volunteers and fans is more likely. In recognition of this,
UEFA's grassroots programme encourages national associations to put philosophies in place that will help to ensure the future of the game.
Through the UEFA Grassroots Charter, a quality mark focusing on grassroots football, UEFA supports and stimulates the development of grassroots football at national level by setting standards and providing tailored assistance. In addition, each national association receives annual earmarked funding to continually develop and improve their grassroots activities.
On the promotional side, the annual UEFA Grassroots Week takes place during the European Week of Sport, and aims to encourage and inspire participation in all forms of football. The UEFA grassroots programme has donated maxi-pitches to the host cities of all of UEFA’s club competition finals since 2010, and has provided a considerable amount of grassroots football equipment to associations since the summer of 2004.
UEFA's grassroots programme recognises the importance of the grassroots game to football's well-being, and forms part of UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin's plans to "build a short-term, medium-term and long-term strategy to ensure that football remains the most popular sport in Europe for generations to come."
Grassroots Newsletter #15 (05.2014)
Grassroots Newsletter #14 (05.2013)
Grassroots Newsletter #13 (05.2012)
Grassroots Newsletter #12 (12.2011)
Grassroots Newsletter #11 (05.2011)
Grassroots Newsletter #10 (01.2010)
Grassroots Newsletter #9 (06.2009)
Grassroots Newsletter #8 (12.2008)
Grassroots Newsletter #7 (01.2008)
Grassroots Newsletter #6 (07.2007)
Grassroots Newsletter #5 (12.2006)
Grassroots Newsletter #4 (05.2006)
Grassroots Newsletter #3 (12.2005)
Grassroots Newsletter #2 (05.2005)
Grassroots Newsletter #1 (05.2004)
UEFA and its member national associations share a common desire to improve overall standards within football across Europe. This is particularly true for the technical sector, where the European governing body has joined forces with associations in a variety of areas in which information is exchanged, ideas and good practice examples are swapped, and recommendations and advice are passed for future progress and development.
Two innovative projects are flourishing in the UEFA technical sector – the UEFA Study Group Scheme and the UEFA coach education student exchange programme.
The Study Group Scheme aims to facilitate the greater exchange of technical know-how and expertise. It is also looking to raise pan-European standards through, for example, visits by association specialists – with the help of UEFA funding – to gather technical knowledge in other associations, particularly at their clubs.
The scheme, in which UEFA's member associations are involved, sees member associations visit one another to share knowledge, experience and best practice in three main areas – coach education, women's and grassroots football.
UEFA's Development and Technical Assistance Committee, in cooperation with the UEFA administration, monitors the UEFA Study Group Scheme. The quality of the scheme is assessed by committee members and by processing the feedback from both the host and visiting associations.
Feedback has been excellent from UEFA's associations, all of which are contributing to the project. The scheme is regarded as an extremely valuable technical exchange which encourages development. Knowledge is power; more technical exchange means more power to the associations and therefore to European football.
The student exchange programme for coach education started at pilot level in 2011. The programme's goal is to give students of the UEFA Pro licence opportunities the chance to swap international knowledge, as well as to enjoy direct access to UEFA tutors and content as part of their education. It is a major step forward in UEFA's coach education work in conjunction with the European national associations.
The student coaches, many of whom are aiming to move into the coaching profession after completing careers as professional footballers, undertake theoretical and practical sessions. They receive invaluable tips for the future from coaching figures who have a wealth of experience behind them. The students are advised about the challenges and pitfalls of this demanding profession, and are given key pointers on the personal and professional profile that a coach needs to survive and prosper in the job on a long-term basis. The national associations involved also get a crucial opportunity to exchange coaching information and expertise, with European football's overall well-being in mind.
At least four European associations are present at each event, under the guidance of their own respective coach education directors. UEFA brings experienced tutors or coach educators to the courses together with UEFA's football education services, and members of the UEFA Jira Panel – the UEFA body responsible for overseeing coach education – take part together with guest presenters.
Both the Study Group Scheme and the coach education student exchange programme have proved their considerable value – in particular, as vehicles to safeguard and nurture the good health of European football.
Young footballers are being given a wonderful chance to showcase their talents and make crucial progress as players through UEFA's international development tournaments.
As part of UEFA's ongoing efforts to develop football across Europe, and in response to feedback received from the UEFA member associations, UEFA has set up the development tournaments to offer young footballing talents an additional opportunity to play competitive international matches. Following a pilot phase in 2012, the tournament programme has moved into full swing, with boys' and girls' events staged across Europe.
The U16 age category has been selected, as UEFA believes this to be a crucial stage in a player's development pathway to the elite level. Such friendly matches, as well as the preparation they involve, are key in facilitating the process of player development.
The U16 development tournaments are also designed to prepare the way for players to move into the U17 age group, where European competition begins in earnest. The tournaments have been given glowing references by national associations, coaches and technical experts.
The tournaments are true learning experiences for the youngsters – not just in fine-tuning skills through practice and guidance, but also in allowing them to appreciate an international and highly competitive atmosphere, and sharing the moment with their peers from other countries.
For coaches, the tournaments provide an additional competitive setting to test more players and experiment with players' positions and tactics according to the opposition – knowing that player development, rather than the result, is the focus. For referees, it provides an excellent educational and learning environment involving international teams, but in a less stressful situation, which will positively influence their path towards elite refereeing.
The tournament organising committees, meanwhile, can learn in practice how to handle certain operational issues, while friendships are forged – everybody involved in the tournaments gains a better understanding of different cultures and different people.
The development tournament programme stretches into the future, with national associations keen to use the opportunity that UEFA is giving them.