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A key component of UEFA's mission is to contribute, as a continental football confederation, to the progress of the game across the world.
Consequently, the European governing body has invited 40 Chinese elite youth coaches to Switzerland for a ten-day further education course which is taking place under the auspices of the 2011 EU–China Year of Youth.
In cooperation with the European Commission, UEFA is hosting this event from Thursday until 13 October at the Colovray Sports Centre opposite UEFA's headquarters in Nyon. A number of renowned European football experts will participate as speakers and the Swiss Football Association (SFV-ASF) has contributed in particular by arranging elite youth matches within the course schedule.
"UEFA, in its position as the governing body of European football, has chosen to celebrate the EU–China Year of Youth through a coach education programme designed to share knowledge, ideas and best practice with our Chinese counterparts in an effort to contribute to the promotion and improvement of the quality of football worldwide," said UEFA President Michel Platini in welcoming the Chinese guests.
"I believe this coaching course will enhance communication and understanding between the youth of China and the EU and achieve its sporting and educational goals," added Wei Dei, senior vice-president and general secretary of the Chinese Football Association.
"Young people are the future and hope of the world and football is the world's most popular sport. I sincerely hope this youth football elite coaching course will help to further the existing friendship and cooperation between China and the EU." The Chinese national association is also being represented by its senior international and technical department staffs. Li Xue, Chinese FA vice-president, will also address the opening ceremony.
"A key aim of the EU–China Year of Youth is to promote exchange and mutual learning in different fields of interest for young people. From playgrounds to professional fields, football can be an effective tool to spread intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding among young people. I welcome this outstanding initiative by UEFA to further these objectives by enhancing the educational role of sport," said the European Commissioner for education, culture, multilingualism and youth, Androulla Vassiliou.
The coaches from China include national youth team coaches, and the head coaches of a variety of elite sides from Under-12 to U19 level, as well as women's youth team coaches. The course programme features presentations from experts and national associations on, among other things, the development of young players and the work of youth academies in European countries, plus practical sessions involving young players and visits to youth matches specially arranged for the course.
"Youth development and coach education are the keys to football's success," said Wei Dei. "The CFA attaches great importance to learning from the advanced concepts and successful experiences of well-developed football countries in Europe. Incorporating these into the Chinese system is an important strategy to improve the technical level of football in China.
"UEFA is one of the greatest organisations in the world of football. It is leading the way and I believe this coaching course will open a new chapter in the bilateral cooperation between the CFA and UEFA, through which all the participants have a huge amount to gain."
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