An innovative new project is flourishing in the UEFA technical sector – the UEFA Study Group Scheme. The scheme, an initiative of UEFA president Michel Platini, aims to facilitate the greater exchange of technical know-how and expertise. It is also looking to raise pan-European standards through, for example, visits by association specialists – with the help of UEFA funding – to gather technical knowledge in other associations, particularly at their clubs.
The UEFA Study Group Scheme, in which all 53 UEFA member associations are involved, sees member associations visit one another to share knowledge, experience and best practice in coach education, youth, women's and grassroots football.
The UEFA Development and Technical Assistance Committee, in cooperation with the UEFA administration, monitors the UEFA Study Group Scheme. The quality of the scheme is assessed by committee members and by processing the feedback from both the host and visiting associations. In principle, each association can host three study visits per year, and each of these can feature three different visiting associations at one time.
Feedback has been excellent from UEFA's associations, all of which are contributing to the project. The scheme is regarded as an extremely valuable technical exchange which encourages development. Knowledge is power; more technical exchange means more power to the associations and therefore to European football. In addition, the programme stimulates the role of those who take ideas and concepts back to their own associations for deployment with senior technical staff playing a full role.