Kyiv's House of Football staged an international schools football development seminar in January, the highlights of which included the final of a nationwide competition to find the most innovative PE lesson and best football-related class.
Football Federation of Ukraine (FFU) president Hryhoriy Surkis explained to delegates how seriously the organisation treated schools football: "When we reached an agreement to introduce a third, football-specific PE lesson in comprehensive schools, UEFA watched carefully to see how far this innovative step, which is unprecedented in Europe and the rest of the world, would go. But now that people are convinced of the seriousness of our intentions, Ukraine is accepted as an example to other associations. The agreement with the ministry for education and science [MES] has been extended until 2012, with the ministry for family, youth and sport also on board. "
Respected Danish coach Jan Poulsen gave a presentation on the UEFA-backed Open Fun Football Schools project, which the Danish-based Cross Cultures Project Association oversees. The programme organises up to 12 football camps each year in Ukraine for boys and girls. Children and schools receive sports equipment as part of the scheme's fun football concept, while teachers and instructors get both materials and special training.
The final of the national teaching contest took place as FFU and MES experts selected the five best entrants, who were invited to put their lesson plans into practice. All the finalists were presented with gifts from the federation and the overall winner was given the title 'honoured teacher of Ukraine'.
The introduction and development of the football lessons project was a central factor in Ukraine gaining six stars under the UEFA Grassroots Charter. Hryhoriy Surkis said: "Getting six-star status was one of our greatest achievements last year. Until then, only six countries – England, Germany, Netherlands, Scotland, Norway and Finland – had this status."
The FFU president also looked forward, saying: "In 2010, the Football Federation of Ukraine, using its own funds and revenue from sponsors and partners, will fulfil its plan to provide school with packs containing everything they need for football lessons. Each child's backpack, with a football symbol on it, will contain a ball, an air pump, a shirt, a new school football programme and our book and CDs of teaching methods. The programme of supplying schools with footballs will also be continued."