European football mourns Gero Bisanz

The former German women's coach, who passed away aged 78, gave impetus to female football and was a driving force in developing UEFA's coaching activities.

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German football is mourning the loss at the age of 78 of Gero Bisanz, the first manager of their women's national team and a key figure in the development not only of women's football in Europe, but also of UEFA's coaching activities.

Bisanz was head of coach development at the German Football Association (DFB) from 1971 to 2000. Between 1982 and 1996, he managed the Germany women's national team, who played their first-ever international fixture under him in 1982.

The women’s team were European champions three times during Bisanz's tenure – in 1989, 1991 and 1995. After the 1996 Olympic Games, he passed the role of women’s head coach on to Tina Theune, who led them to the FIFA Women's World Cup title in 2003.

Vastly respected in European coaching and coach education circles, Bisanz was vice-chairman of the UEFA Jira Panel from 1998 to 2000, and a member of the UEFA Technical Development Committee from 1992 to 1996, before becoming an expert advisor to the committee from 1998 to 2000.

He was a driving force behind the UEFA Coaching Convention, which was launched in 1997 and had the objective to protect the coaching profession and prepare the way for the free movement of qualified coaches within Europe in accordance with European law, while improving coaching standards at all levels. Latterly, Bisanz was a member of the Amicale des Anciens circle of former UEFA committee members.

DFB president Wolfgang Niersbach said: "The news of his sudden death has hit us all very hard at the DFB. Gero Bisanz was a wonderful person and a true professional, who made a lasting contribution to football. By winning the European Championship in 1989, he helped women’s football in Germany make its breakthrough in terms of public awareness and appreciation."

Current German women's national team coach Silvia Neid has fond memories of Bisanz: "I am deeply shocked and saddened. Gero Bisanz was an incredibly caring person, who always knew the right thing to say. I have a lot to thank him for personally, because I learnt so much from him as a player and later as a manager. Without his commitment, passion and professional expertise, women’s football wouldn’t have the status and the structure that it has today."

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