The ambitious and innovative UEFA Study Group Scheme has completed a second season of study visits and technical knowledge-sharing involving some 1,700 football technicians.
The successful UEFA Study Group Scheme, the innovative technical exchange programme involving all of UEFA's 53 member national associations, has ended its second year.
The Study Group Scheme, funded by UEFA, is aimed at improving European football's technical standards throughout the continent. The study visits focus on areas such as elite youth football, coach education, grassroots and the women's game. A total of 52 visits took place this season, with each member of the UEFA Development and Technical Assistance Committee having taken part in visits.
A total of 156 groups of eleven members have travelled to other associations, and some 1,700 football technicians around Europe have been involved in the scheme's second year. Denmark hosted the final session, with visiting delegations from the Netherlands, Northern Ireland and Kazakhstan joining forces for discussions on women's football.
"The scheme, launched on the initiative of UEFA president Michel Platini, is an ambitious and fantastic project, and the way it is put into practice is very appreciated by all 53 UEFA national association members," said UEFA's national associations director Theodore Theodoridis, who attended the activities in Denmark.
"We are glad to be part of the UEFA Study Group Scheme, and I think that we can improve our education programme a lot by sharing new ideas with other countries," said Poul Gilling, head of the Danish Football Association (DBU) education and development department.
"We have hosted six UEFA study groups during the first two seasons of the programme, and a lot of my colleagues have been involved in the programmes and have got important experience from these visits. The study group idea is great and we are looking forward to the third season of hosting and visiting other countries."
The DBU again welcomed the opportunity to swap knowledge on women's football with three other European associations. "If women's football is to continue its development, it is necessary to get inspiration – and we are proud to present the Danish way of women's football to other countries," explained Diana Andersen, member of the DBU female youth committee.
"We are very satisfied with the Danish FA's quality in terms of hosting and reliability over the last two years," concluded Frank Ludolph, head of UEFA's football education services, who also contributed to the seminar in Denmark. "In addition, our Danish colleagues are covering all four topics in a very professional and dedicated way.
"Regarding the third season of the UEFA Study Group Scheme," he continued, "the general planning is now finalised and 56 visits have been scheduled with a projected 1,850 participants. The number of host associations will see another increase as Portugal, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Wales, Romania and Bulgaria will host for the first time. This also illustrates the big interest in the scheme."
The first visit of the third season will take place in Finland from 30 August to 2 September with delegations from Lithuania, San Marino and Azerbaijan; women's football will again be on the agenda.