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Empowering women in football with innovative UEFA coaching and education programmes

As part of the UEFA women's football strategy, Time for Action (2019–2024), UEFA is committed to supporting, guiding and lifting both women's football and women in football across Europe.

UEFA via Getty Images

UEFA women's football strategy, Time for Action (2019–2024), underlines UEFA's commitment to supporting, guiding and lifting both women's football and women in football across Europe.

Within the strategy, UEFA outlines its promise to increase the number and quality of female football coaches – and the UEFA coach development programme for women is dedicated to achieving this objective.

What is the UEFA coach development programme for women?

The UEFA coach development programme for women offers female coaches scholarships (up to 90% of the course fee and a maximum of €12,000) for UEFA diploma courses (Pro, A, B, C, youth, goalkeeper and futsal). The programme also provides education for female coach educators, technical support for women's coaching courses and workshops.

How can female coaches find out more about the UEFA women's coach development scholarship and specific coaching courses?

The UEFA coach development programme for women provides opportunities for women to improve their skills and advance their coaching careers
The UEFA coach development programme for women provides opportunities for women to improve their skills and advance their coaching careersUEFA via Getty Images

For information about UEFA women’' coach development scholarships contact womencoaches@uefa.ch.

For information relating to specific coaching courses, please contact your national football association.

Is women's football content included in all UEFA coaching courses?

In September 2021, UEFA started the women's football competence framework working group. It is made up of professionals (football coaches, psychologists, fitness specialists, goalkeeper coaches and grassroots experts) who all have the goal of ensuring best practice women's football content is included in every UEFA coaching diploma course. The women's football content for all UEFA coaching courses is planned to be finalised by April 2022 and will help ensure coaches completing UEFA coaching courses are equipped to coach girls, boys, women, men and/or a mixed team.

Anna Signeul, manager of the Finland women's football team and chair of the UEFA women's football competence framework working group:

"We have a great team of professionals in the group and our work will support UEFA and the national associations to deliver more inclusive and accessible coaching courses in the future."

What is the UEFA coach mentor programme and how does it support the development of female coaches?

Participants on the first official  UEFA Coach Mentor Programme in 2019
Participants on the first official UEFA Coach Mentor Programme in 2019UEFA via Getty Images

The key objective of the coach mentor programme, which is part of the UEFA coach development programme for women, is to give active coaches who hold a UEFA A or Pro diploma the possibility and encouragement to move forward in their careers.

The 'teachers and students' are in regular contact each month, and the mentees enjoy privileged access to information, guidance and advice which provide them with useful tools to elevate their coaching careers.

The UEFA coach mentor programme was launched in 2018/19 as a pilot project with eight participants (four coaches acting as mentors and four mentees). Following the success of the pilot, the first official coach mentor programme started in October 2019 with eighteen participants (nine pairs).

How can female coaches apply for the mentor programme?

The next mentor programme starts in December 2021 with participants already selected. Another mentor programme will start in season 2022/23. We will announce the application process closer to the start date.

What do some of the existing participants say?

We talked to some of the current superstars acting as mentors and mentees to find out what they like about the programme, their top tips for female coaches and more.

Marzena Salamon (Poland women's Under-19 national team coach), who is being mentored by Corinne Diacre (France national women's team coach)

"Corinne is a very good teacher, listener and always offers good advice. It was very important to show Corinne my place of work and my environment. We are working in different levels of football, but we are both female coaches in football and had similar problems which she completely understood.

"Always believe in yourself and your work, be passionate, learn from your mistakes, you cannot win every game and remember to focus on specific tasks. If you want to make a difference in female football you need to be confident. We are not worse than men."

Marianne Miettinen (Football Association of Finland head of performance) who is being mentored by Martin Sjögren (Norway national women's team coach):

"Be brave – learn by doing and find a person or several people who can support you and you can learn from. Coaching is a learning process; you will develop if you are open-minded, have a passion for learning and if you want to be better every day.

"It is a fantastic feeling when you get to be part of people's lives and help them to grow as players and human beings and achieve things together – this is what coaching is about."

Martin Sjögren, mentor to Marianne Miettinen

"We have created a mutual educational relationship where we exchange experiences, and this means it has been very positive for my own development as well.

"I have helped Marianne with some presentations and discussions, and she has helped me with some analysis, for instance for the Algarve Cup. Before COVID-19, we had the opportunity to visit Chelsea FC. It has been one of my aims to open doors for Marianne so she has access to places where she hasn't been before, creating new contacts and new experiences.

"[Female coaches] should believe in yourselves and follow your heart in the decision of getting into coaching. The world of football needs more females in coaching positions."

How long does the UEFA coach mentor programme last?

The duration of the mentor programme is 18 months. However, due to the pandemic, the current programme will conclude in December 2021, having started in October 2019.

What else is UEFA doing to support women working in football?

 Women's Football Leadership Programme (WFLP) participants at UEFA headquarters
Women's Football Leadership Programme (WFLP) participants at UEFA headquartersUEFA via Getty Images

The UEFA Academy delivers an array of educational programmes for players and administrators which help ensure football professionals develop the skills and knowledge they need to continuously elevate the game.

With women’s football identified as key priority in the UEFA strategy for 2019–2024, the UEFA Academy runs the UEFA Women in Football Leadership Programme (WFLP) which supports women to influence the football industry today and in the future through a powerful leadership training week.

When is the next WFLP launching?

The next women in football leadership programme starts in March 2022, with applications opening in early December 2021.

Find out more about the WFLP

Additionally, the UEFA Academy is committed to increasing female participation rates for the national edition of the UEFA Certificate in Football Management (CFM) which includes a module exclusively dedicated to women's football as well as a chapter in the UEFA Handbook of Football Management (UEFA HFM).

By 2024, the UEFA Academy aims to have at least one employee working in women's football in each European national association complete the UEFA CFM programme.

Are there scholarships available for women for any UEFA Academy programmes?

Yes. To increase the number of women participating in UEFA Academy programmes, the UEFA Academy provides scholarships for women for the UEFA Executive Master for International Players (UEFA MIP) and the Executive Master in Global Sports Governance (MESGO). To enquire about scholarships, e-mail academy@uefa.ch.

UEFA is dedicated to championing, innovating and accelerating women's football as it is our duty as European football's governing body to empower the women's game.

The UEFA coaching programmes and the UEFA Academy programmes will help lead to a greater, more professional and more prosperous women's game by 2024.