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UEFA Grassroots Week: Cyprus FA to educate teachers in every school to deliver high-quality football sessions

A special introduction to grassroots coaching will benefit hundreds of teachers and 50,000 children.

Children at a grassroots event in Larnaca, Cyprus
Children at a grassroots event in Larnaca, Cyprus UEFA via Getty Images

The Cyprus Football Association (CFA) will educate one teacher in every elementary school across the country to deliver high-quality football sessions, as part of the UEFA Football in Schools programme.

The exceptional support for teacher education is part of the new Memorandum of Understanding between the CFA and the country’s Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, which will see 50,000 children aged 6-12 receive two school football sessions per week throughout the year.

Cyprus staging special UEFA Football in Schools event

On Tuesday, 90 boys and girls involved with the Football in Schools programme will play alongside UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin and a group of footballing legends in Limassol, Cyprus ahead of the UEFA Executive Committee meeting in the city that afternoon.

The event comes following the announcement that the programme will receive a further €11m in funding over the next four years, and is the flagship event of UEFA Grassroots Week, which shines a light on the game and its development at youth and amateur levels.

"As a Football Association, we are very proud to have signed the four-year Memorandum of Understanding and we are now in the process of educating the teachers who deliver physical education classes," says Harris Kyrillou, grassroots football manager at the CFA.

"We will help them obtain the special CFA D Licence for teachers. This two-day intensive course will help the teachers develop a better understanding of football as well as improve their self-confidence to apply the knowledge to the children in school."

A safe, positive, high-quality learning environment is crucial for children's development and enjoyment of the game
A safe, positive, high-quality learning environment is crucial for children's development and enjoyment of the gameUEFA via Getty Images

Since the programme began in February 2023, 32 teachers have received the CFA D Licence. The Cyprus FA now aim to educate one teacher in every school to D Licence level.

"We have 360 elementary schools for children aged 6-12 in Cyprus and we aim to educate at least 100 teachers to attain the CFA D licence every year of the four-year Memorandum of Understanding," explains Kyrillou. "Our aim is to have 400 teachers educated with a licence by the end of the four-year period. It means approximately one teacher from each school across the country will have a licence and be able to improve the football sessions in their school."

Encouraging boys and girls' participation

In addition to teacher training, schools involved in the Football in Schools Programme also receive an equipment pack to support their activities. Across the four-year period, a total of 4,000 new footballs will be distributed to schools.

"We want all children to get introduced to the world of football from the age of six years old," says Kyrillou. "Following UEFA’s directive, we have also put a big focus on encouraging girls in schools to play football and that has been a really great pathway to introduce football to girls."

With private academies playing a significant role in grassroots football in Cyprus, the CFA are working hard to provide a more effective pathway between the Football in Schools programme and further playing opportunities – an effort that saw them win the UEFA Grassroots Award for Best Participation Initiative earlier this year.

UEFA Grassroots Awards 2022/23: Best Participation Initiative

"The final pillar of our Football in Schools strategy, which has only been achieved with the full support of our president, George Koumas, focuses on the many talented players we believe are playing football in schools. However, we have found that many of these children don’t know where to play football after school or how to get connected with academies. To help this, the Cyprus FA have become the link between the schools and the academies and we are really proud of our achievement."