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UEFA Coaching Convention: Setting new standards to the power of 10

Since its launch in 1998, the UEFA Coaching Convention has become a reference point for best practice coaching and coach education in European football.

Anorthosis Famagusta FC head coach Marcos Spanos leads a training session for the club’s young players at the recent UEFA Coach Education Conference in Cyprus
Anorthosis Famagusta FC head coach Marcos Spanos leads a training session for the club’s young players at the recent UEFA Coach Education Conference in Cyprus ©Sportsfile

Frank Ludolph, head of football education services at UEFA, lists the Convention’s top 10 contributions to the ever-improving technical quality of the ‘beautiful game.’

1. Helping UEFA fulfil its mission to develop football

“The convention’s mission is crystal clear – ‘setting high coach education standards to improve the quality of coach education in all UEFA member associations, with the aim of developing better coaches and, ultimately, better players and the overall quality of the game.’”

2. Increasing the number of qualified male and female coaches

“We have been able to increase the number of male and female coaches with coaching qualifications and licences that are recognised throughout Europe.”

3. Establishing a European-wide recognised licence

“A UEFA-endorsed coaching licence is considered as recognition of a coach’s quality and the level of his/her training.”

4. Raising standards to meet ever greater demands on coaches

“Since 1997, coaching standards have been raised at all levels across Europe- The game has obviously evolved, and up-to-date coach education must reflect the fact that demands on coaches are higher than ever. We’ve faced a lot of challenges – and we have been able to meet them.”

5. Introducing qualifications for goalkeeping, futsal and other specialist sectors

“Alongside core education pathways for coaches, such as the B, A and Pro Licences, we’ve introduced specialist coaching sectors and qualifications – youth coaching, futsal coaching, coaching for goalkeepers – all of which enhance the education possibilities on offer.”

6. Ensuring common coaching standards across UEFA territory

“UEFA’s convention ensures unified minimum standards of coaching to guarantee the performance quality of coaches acting on UEFA’s territory.”

7. Protecting footballers from unqualified coaches

“The comprehensive coaching licence requirements laid down in the convention protect footballers from exposure to unqualified coaches without the requisite education, who might have an effect on their physical, psychological or technical development.”

8. Promoting freedom of movement – and sharing of knowledge

“The convention promotes European integration, because it ensures mutual recognition of coaching qualifications from country to country. This brings about freedom of movement - coaches can go from one country to another to work. We always wish to comply with European law, and the convention’s provisions are fully in line with European Union jurisdiction.”

9. Giving status and credibility to the coaching profession

“There is a much stronger recognition of the coaching profession, and also of the status of the coach. We’ve been given a great deal of respect and recognition, especially from other sports, for what we are doing in this direction.”

10. Giving meaning to a vital role

“The coach educators’ work is given meaning by the convention. They may not have the highest of profiles, but they are totally essential for football’s future. As former England manager Howard Wilkinson – still involved in UEFA coach education activities – once put it, coach education is “a bit like the swan that’s gliding gracefully across the surface, but pedalling like mad underneath…‘”