UEFA's commitment to developing and nurturing the technical sector of European football has reaped handsome dividends over the years, with the result that the European governing body has set new and impressive standards, in conjunction with its 54 member associations.
Football education activities; the further development and training of coaches; promotion and protection of the coaching profession, analysis of the latest tactical and technical trends in UEFA's elite and youth competitions; the tending of football's grassroots; giving crucial international experience to developing young footballers – European football's constant development on the field and from the touchline is within the remit of a dedicated UEFA team which is part of the national associations division.
UEFA's football education services handle the important area of coach education, in particular through specific events and workshops. UEFA has given considerable priority to the topic of coach education – "coaching the coaches" - over the years, based on the view that well-educated coaches will help to produce well-trained footballers and increase overall standards throughout Europe. Specific coach education in areas such as goalkeeping, futsal and football fitness trends is also bringing new dimensions to the services' work.
Coach education in Europe is regulated by the UEFA Coaching Convention, established to regulate coach education throughout Europe, to improve coaching standards across the continent and facilitate the cross-border movement of coaches.
Coaching events also bring coaches together to discuss and analyse developments – the UEFA National Team Coaches Conference, held after each major national team final round, and the Elite Club Coaches Forum, staged at the start of each season, bring fresh insights and new ideas to the table for the top-level game in particular.
Educational tools are produced and disseminated, including technical reports for the various European competitions, DVDs, and regular issues of UEFA's official coaching publication UEFA•technician.
Working in harmony with the UEFA national associations is bringing handsome rewards for UEFA and its technical team. The UEFA Study Group scheme sees the associations visiting each other to exchange ideas and knowledge, and swap best practices on coach education, youth, women's and grassroots football. Meanwhile, Pro licence student exchange courses are providing an invaluable source of knowledge and information for the budding professional coaches of the future.
Tending the grassroots is a vital UEFA priority, in accordance with the viewpoint that the elite level of the game cannot flourish without a healthy basis, and given that football should be open to everyone. The UEFA Grassroots Day, staged ahead of each year's UEFA Champions League final, celebrates football's essential soul across the continent. UEFA's Grassroots Day Awards reward excellence in the grassroots sector, and the UEFA Grassroots Charter is stimulating national associations to further develop their domestic grassroots activities.
Finally, young footballers are being given a wonderful chance to showcase their talents and make crucial progress as players through UEFA's international development tournaments. As part of UEFA's ongoing efforts to develop football across Europe, and in response to feedback received from the UEFA member associations, UEFA – with its technical team playing a sterling role – has successfully launched the development tournaments to offer young footballing talents an additional opportunity to play competitive international matches.
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