null  User manual
No. 167
MAY 2017
Governance reforms
adopted in Helsinki
UEFA Direct talks to PSG’s head
groundsman, Jonathan Calderwood
Fabio Capello shares
his secrets to success
UEFA bids farewell to five
members in Helsinki
he recent attack on a bus carrying
Borussia Dortmund players to their UEFA
Champions League quarter-final against
AS Monaco FC unfortunately highlighted the
challenges that we face in organising some
of the world’s biggest sporting events.
Furthermore, this incident served as a
reminder that no matter how great the action
on the pitch, it is the safety and security of the
players, fans, officials and partners that has to
be our number one priority for all our matches
and competitions.
UEFA has more than 60 years’ experience
of organising football matches and we have
faced many trials and tribulations along the
way. As recently as last year, UEFA EURO 2016
was staged against a backdrop of hideous
terrorist attacks that targeted France and
neighbouring Belgium.
I remember vividly how we spent countless
months in consultation with the local organising
committee, the French government and local
authorities to ensure the safety of the hundreds
of thousands of people who attended the
tournament – an event that thankfully passed
without major incident.
To show UEFA’s commitment to ensuring a
safe environment for players, officials and fans,
we are setting up a new security unit, which
will work alongside our existing Stadium and
Security Committee.
As you know, in the coming months we
have several major events to deliver, including
youth tournaments, Women’s EURO 2017 and
the club competition finals. In each case,
we are working very closely with the local
authorities in order to guarantee the safety
of the participants, the fans and everyone
else visiting the host countries and cities.
I sincerely hope that everyone will be able
to enjoy these magnificent occasions to the
fullest. After all, football has the unique quality
of being able to unite people of all nationalities,
races and faiths – no matter how challenging
the times may be.
Theodore Theodoridis
UEFA General Secretary
UEFA DIRECT • May 2017 – 03
Getty Images
6 UEFA Congress
Aleksander Čeferin chaired his first
Fifteen teams will be competing
UEFA Congress in Helsinki on 5 April.
11 UEFA Europa League final
Stockholm gears up for 24 May.
12 Pitch perfect
From the wintry mudbaths and dusty
goalmouths of the not-so-distant past
to the latest generation of hybrid grass,
elite football pitches have become
technological masterpieces.
The UEFA GROW programme held its
first summit it Tbilisi, Georgia, where
the focus was on growing participation
in eastern Europe.
alongside hosts Croatia in the final
round of the 2016/17 European
Under-17 Championship, while the
Czech Republic plays host to the final
round of this season’s European
Women’s Under-17 Championship.
28 Social responsibility
The EURO 2016 legacy project has left
a lasting impact in Saint-Etienne, where
18 new facilities have been built for the
benefit of 24 different communes.
30 The Technician
Fabio Capello shared an array of
anecdotes and a wealth of advice with
the coaches attending the first UEFA
Youth League Coaches Forum.
40 News from member
04 – UEFA DIRECT • May 2017
Official publication of
the Union of European
Football Associations
Chief editor:
Emmanuel Deconche
Deputy chief editor:
Dominique Maurer
External contributors:
Simon Hart (page 12)
Tomislav Pacak, HNS
(sidebar, page 23)
Terji Nielsen (page 24)
Martin Gregor, FACR
(sidebar, page 26)
Laure James (page 39)
Artgraphic Cavin
CH-1422 Grandson
Editorial deadline:
10 April 2017
Cover photo:
Saint-Étienne Métropole
Getty Images
UEFA DIRECT • May 2017 – 05
UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin’s message to the 41st Ordinary UEFA Congress in
Helsinki on 5 April was loud and clear: UEFA is ready to face the future, and it will show
no fear whatsoever in meeting the demands posed by football’s ever-changing world.
n his keynote speech at the latest
gathering of Europe’s football parliament
– his first address to a UEFA Congress
since his election last September – the
UEFA president called for bravery and
06 – UEFA DIRECT • May 2017
forward thinking in the nurturing of
the game. “Football is beautiful. Let
us dare to protect it together. Let us
dare to fight for what we believe to
be just. That is our responsibility as
leaders,” he told representatives of
UEFA’s 55 member associations and
prominent guests.
“Let us have the courage of our
convictions, our values and our passions.”
The UEFA president emphasised that while
respect should always be shown to UEFA’s
past decisions and traditions, change and
reform should not be cause for trepidation.
“Like on the pitch, our formula for success
will be efficiency, simplicity and a touch
of creativity,” he told the audience. “No
empty promises; no empty words; no
scandals. Let’s act. With humility, respect
and professionalism.”
A series of good governance reforms
approved during the Congress (see page 9)
were described by Mr Čeferin as a
necessary rebuilding of UEFA’s
foundations. “We realise that these
measures are far removed from the
concerns of pure football fans,” he said.
“But these changes are essential if we are
to rebuild our image, restore our credibility
and strengthen our legitimacy.”
Vision for tomorrow
Mr Čeferin stressed that now was the time
to start moulding the European football
of tomorrow, and that the national
associations would play a key role in
that process. “Together, we will develop
a strategic vision for European football,”
he explained. “We will initiate discussions
very soon. It is your ideas, projects, hopes
and aspirations, and those of your clubs,
players and supporters, that will be at the
heart of this vision.”
Moving on to the relationship between
UEFA and football stakeholders, the UEFA
president emphasised that Europe’s
leagues, clubs and players should not
be seen as enemies. “They are key
stakeholders in our game,” he said.
“Partners that we must respect. So why be
afraid of dialogue? Why be afraid of telling
them face to face how we could shape the
future together, hand in hand, in the best
interests of football?”
“It’s not a question of
looking at football as it
is today and asking ‘Why?’,
but of dreaming about
how it could be and asking
‘Why not?’”
Aleksander Čeferin
UEFA President
Mr Čeferin ruled out a closed European
league. “Quite simply, that is not in line
with our values and ideals,” he said.
“But we will work together for the good
of club football and correct what needs
to be put right.” Turning to the leagues,
he said that UEFA would “never give in to
the blackmail of those who think they can
manipulate small leagues or impose their
will on the associations because they think
they are all-powerful on account of the
astronomical revenues they generate”.
He insisted that money did not rule and
that the football pyramid had to be – and
would be – respected, while explaining
that UEFA would work with the leagues
for the good of domestic football, in order
to find practical solutions to their problems.
Mr Čeferin pledged to continue the
development of UEFA’s financial fair play
measures, which have helped to stabilise
European clubs’ finances. “Financial
fair play has been remarkably efficient
in reducing club debt,” he explained,
stressing that these rules should not
simply be seen as austerity measures.
“It must be a support mechanism,
encouraging greater justice and stability,
but also greater investment.”
A number of new faces will be present at the next meeting
of the UEFA Executive Committee in Cardiff on 1 June,
following elections at the UEFA Congress in Helsinki.
Eight seats on the committee were up for election, and out of
the 11 candidates in the running, the following were elected/
re-elected for four-year terms:
(Republic of Ireland)
50 votes (new)
48 votes (new)
46 votes (new)
45 votes (new)
44 votes (new)
40 votes
36 votes
34 votes (new)
Armand Duka (Albania) received 25 votes, Elkhan Mammadov
(Azerbaijan) received 24, and Kieran O’Connor (Wales) received
11. Kairat Boranbayev (Kazakhstan) withdrew his candidature
before the election.
Karl-Erik Nilsson was appointed first vice-president, with
Fernando Gomes (Portugal), Reinhard Grindel, Grigoriy Surkis
(Ukraine) and Ángel María Villar Llona (Spain) being named as the
other vice-presidents. David Gill (England) was appointed treasurer.
• Karl-Erik Nilsson
• John Delaney
• Michele Uva
• Zbigniew Boniek
• Reinhard Grindel
• David Gill • Michael van Praag • Servet Yardımcı
In addition, four European members of the FIFA Council were
elected by acclamation: Sándor Csányi (Hungary), Costakis
Koutsokoumnis (Cyprus) and Dejan Savićević (Montenegro)
for four-year terms, and Reinhard Grindel (Germany) for a
two-year term.
UEFA DIRECT • May 2017 – 07
Pertti Alaja, president of the
Finnish FA, welcomed the
Congress participants to Helsinki.
Fighting negative elements
Mr Čeferin made a firm commitment to
maintaining UEFA’s determined stance on
violence, doping, corruption, match-fixing,
and ethical and disciplinary problems –
“all the evils that threaten our sport,” as
he put it. This, he said, was why UEFA had
established a new division tasked solely
with combating these negative elements.
He explained that “social fair play”
would also be a priority for UEFA in the
future, with a focus on making football
fairer and more ethical. This would include
protecting children and incorporating
respect for human rights and workers’
rights in bidding requirements for
UEFA competitions. “Being a social
fair play organisation also means being
an organisation that does not tolerate
racism,” the UEFA president emphasised.
“Or sexism. Or homophobia. Or
discrimination against disabled people.
Here too, I ask you to set an example,”
he said. “Within UEFA and within your
Marios N Lefkaritis was awarded honorary UEFA membership at
the Congress in Helsinki, as he retired from UEFA duties after more
than two decades of outstanding service to European football.
08 – UEFA DIRECT • May 2017
In recent years, he was a UEFA vicepresident and treasurer, while also
chairing the Finance Committee and
the National Associations Committee,
as well as acting as special advisor to
the HatTrick Committee.
Marios N Lefkaritis served UEFA in
various different roles over the years,
with the first coming way back in 1992.
He was first elected to the Executive
Committee in 1996 and was, among other
things, chairman of the European Under-21
Championship Committee and vicechairman of the European Championship
Committee. He was also vice-chairman of
the board of EURO 2008 SA.
At national level, he was president
of the Cyprus Football Association for
ten years from 1991, before becoming
the association’s honorary president.
Marios N Lefkaritis joins a highly select
group of individuals:
UEFA honorary president
Lennart Johansson (Sweden)
UEFA honorary members
Gerhard Aigner (Germany)
Hans Bangerter (Switzerland)
Egidius Braun (Germany)
Des Casey (Republic of Ireland)
Şenes Erzik (Turkey)
Jean Fournet-Fayard (France)
Vyacheslav Koloskov (Russia)
Marios N Lefkaritis (Cyprus)
Antonio Matarrese (Italy)
Joseph Mifsud (Malta)
Per Ravn Omdal (Norway)
Giangiorgio Spiess (Switzerland)
Geoffrey Thompson (England)
to develop football in the furthest reaches
of your territories,” he said. “When the
financial results exceed our expectations,
as they have done in this cycle, I will
propose to redistribute the funds as
soon as possible.”
Defending football’s values
Mr Čeferin stressed that football had to
remain a game of the people, asserting
that UEFA would “defend football’s values
against all the cynics, killjoys and moralists,
and against all those who are embittered,
disappointed, disillusioned or disgusted”.
The UEFA president
announced that UEFA would
be making an additional
€1m solidarity payment to
each member association
for the current cycle.
respective bodies. We cannot stand up
for diversity, gender equality and social
inclusion by means of TV spots and good
intentions if we ourselves tolerate words
and behaviour from another age.”
He reflected that social fair play would
“make football more open to those
who love it and to those who play it,
wherever they are, wherever they come
from and whoever they may be”.
The UEFA president announced that
UEFA would be making an additional
€1m solidarity payment to each member
association for the current cycle, owing
to the excellent financial results achieved
by national team tournaments such
as EURO 2016. “In an ever more
individualistic society, ‘sharing’ must
not be considered a dirty word,” he told
the associations’ presidents and general
secretaries. “Solidarity is a value that
has to be engrained in UEFA’s DNA.”
He stressed that he was aware of the
financial difficulties that the associations
sometimes faced. “UEFA is not here to
accumulate wealth while you struggle
UEFA’s good governance programme took a crucial step forward at the
Congress in Helsinki, with Europe’s national associations approving reform
proposals that are designed to strengthen the organisation.
The reforms in question were a key
element of the manifesto presented
by the UEFA president, Aleksander
Čeferin, in the run-up to his election
last September. Mr Čeferin explained to
the Congress that these changes were
“a necessary step towards greater calm
and stability in UEFA,” he said.
“Why should we be afraid,” he said,
“to modernise and to keep up with the
times? After all, transparency and good
governance are not only fashionable; they
are praiseworthy and respectable values.”
These reforms include new term limits
for the UEFA president and members of
the Executive Committee, with officials
allowed to serve a maximum of three
four-year terms. From now on, candidates
for election/re-election to the Executive
Committee must also hold an active
office (president, vice-president,
general secretary or chief executive)
at their respective national associations.
In addition, two full member positions
on the Executive Committee are to be
granted to representatives of the European
Football, he said, had to act as a unifying
– rather than a divisive – force. “Let
football give people reason to dream,”
he urged. “Footballers are artists. They
light up dark rooms in so many homes
around the world. They inspire. They
delight. They transcend. Quite simply,
they bring out pure and intense emotions
in us, in a troubled world, a complex and
paradoxical world – a world that is more
regulated and sanitised than ever, and at
the same time ever more inclined towards
populism and fear.”
“With tens of millions of registered
players and hundreds of millions of fans,
we represent the biggest social movement
in Europe. In an uncertain world, in
societies beset with doubt, we have
responsibilities,” Mr Čeferin concluded.
“I will say it again: let us not be afraid.
Together, let us always respect and defend
those who bring football alive every day,
everywhere: the supporters, the volunteers
and the younger generation. Let us never
forget that it is for them that we must
pursue our projects for the future.”
Club Association. Meanwhile, UEFA’s
Governance and Compliance Committee
is to be strengthened, with two additional
independent members being appointed,
bringing the total number of members
to five.
Moreover, a specific article is to be
included in the UEFA Statutes, to ensure
that venues for all UEFA competitions
are selected in a fully objective manner
by means of a transparent bidding process,
while another article will make ethics and
good governance a statutory objective.
Finally, national association experts will
now be allowed to chair UEFA committees.
Aleksander Čeferin described the
reforms as “an overhaul of our foundations,
on which we can build a better future”.
“‘Leading by example’ has to be more
than just a catch-line,” he said. “It has
to be a clear reality.”
Addressing the Congress, the European
commissioner for education, culture,
youth and sport, Tibor Navracsics,
gave a warm welcome to the reforms.
“I am glad to see that UEFA is taking
these commitments seriously,” he said.
“Transparency, accountability and
stakeholder involvement are the backbone
of good governance principles.”
UEFA DIRECT • May 2017 – 09
A new strategy for futsal and the staging of the UEFA Europa League final in the same week
as the UEFA Champions League final in the 2018–21 cycle were the main focal points of the
latest UEFA Executive Committee meeting, which took place in Helsinki on 4 April.
he recent Executive Committee meeting
in the Finnish capital was not just
important because of the decisions that
were taken; it was also an opportunity to thank
members who were taking their leave of the
committee ahead of the following day’s 41st
Ordinary UEFA Congress.
Farewells and gratitude for years of
outstanding service went to vice-presidents
Giancarlo Abete (Italy) and Marios N Lefkaritis
(Cyprus), as well as fellow committee members
Allan Hansen (Denmark), Avraham Luzon (Israel)
and František Laurinec (Slovakia). All five can
reflect with pride on their crucial work on behalf
of UEFA and European football at a time when
the game has been evolving more rapidly than
ever before.
One of the Executive Committee’s eternal
characteristics is its desire to ensure that
European football keeps pace with modern
times, and a number of key strategic decisions
were made in Helsinki in relation to futsal,
seeking to take the game forward as it continues
to grow in popularity.
10 – UEFA DIRECT • May 2017
Giancarlo Abete, Avraham Luzon,
Marios N Lefkaritis, František
Laurinec and Allen Hansen after
their final Executive Committee
meeting in Helsinki.
Thus, as of 2022, the UEFA Futsal EURO will take
place every four years (rather than every two
years) and will be contested by 16 teams (rather
than 12). The structure of this competition will
be improved, with the qualifying stage spanning
two seasons, and the clash with the Futsal
World Cup every four years will be avoided. The
2020–22 European Futsal Championship will kick
off in the 2020/21 season, with no Futsal EURO
final round taking place in 2020.
In addition, a UEFA Women’s Futsal EURO is to
take place every two years, starting in 2019. This
will be contested by four teams, reflecting the
fact that the number of national women’s futsal
teams remains limited at present. Meanwhile,
on the youth front, a European Under-19 Futsal
Championship is to take place every two years,
also starting in 2019, and will be contested by
eight teams.
The Executive Committee also endorsed
changes to the format of the UEFA Futsal
Cup. From 2017/18, the top three member
associations in UEFA’s futsal rankings will be
entitled to enter a second representative, in
addition to their domestic champions. Then,
as of the 2018/19 season, the competition will
be renamed the UEFA Futsal Champions League,
further increasing the prestige associated with
UEFA’s premier futsal club competition.
Turning to the 11-a-side game, the Executive
Committee gave the green light to playing
the Europa League final in the same week
as the Champions League final for the entire
2018–21 cycle. This move has been made so
that the Europa League final is played – like the
Champions League final – after the end of the
domestic season. Consequently, the final of
the 2018/19 Europa League will take place on
Wednesday 29 May 2019. The two finals will
be staged at different venues, as is the case
at present.
Finally, the Executive Committee confirmed
that the final round of the 2017–19 European
Under-21 Championship would take place in
Italy from 16 to 30 June 2019.
The next meeting of the Executive Committee
will take place in Cardiff on 1 June, the day of
the Women's Champions League final, and two
days before the Welsh city also plays host to
the Champions League final.
The stage is set in Sweden’s capital for the final
of the 2016/17 UEFA Europa League on 24 May.
The Friends Arena in Stockholm has a
retractable roof and can seat 50,000.
builds on that written at the Råsunda, which
hosted finals of the men’s and women’s
World Cup. It was there that Pelé fired
Brazil to glory against the hosts in 1958,
and Norway’s women triumphed against
Germany in 1995.
Record numbers
Another memorable occasion now awaits
with the culmination of the 2016/17 UEFA
Europa League. A total of 188 teams – from
continental heavyweights to European
debutants – entered the competition and
the action has been followed in record
numbers. Manchester United FC’s home
match against Fenerbahçe SK on matchday 3
drew a group-stage record of 73,063 to Old
Trafford, and a new knockout stage and
overall competition high was recorded at
Wembley as 80,465 watched Tottenham
Hotspur FC take on KAA Gent in the round
of 32.
The competition’s large audiences
have been rewarded with compelling
action. Jan Sýkora’s opening goal of the
group stage – for FC Slovan Liberec against
Qarabağ FK – came after just 10.69 seconds
and was the quickest successful strike in
Europa League history. Aritz Aduriz then
became the first player to find the net
five times in a single Europa League
match when he scored all of Athletic
Club’s goals (including three penalties)
in their 5-3 victory over KRC Genk on
3 November.
Whoever ultimately prevails in
Stockholm on 24 May, there will be a
new name on the trophy for the first time
in four years, with Sevilla FC not back to
defend their hat-trick of titles. Whoever
takes their crown will be the cream of a
remarkably diverse crop.
Of the 188 contenders, 139 entered
in the qualifying rounds, 16 were given
direct access to the group stage and
33 joined at various intervals from the
UEFA Champions League.
Since the old UEFA Cup was rebranded
ahead of the 2009/10 campaign,
190 clubs representing more than 30
countries have taken part in the group
stage of the Europa League, with 13
making their debuts this season alone.
At Friends Arena on 24 May, though, it
will be all about the last two standing
in 2016/17, and to paraphrase a certain
Swedish super group, the winner will
take it all.
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tockholm’s Friends Arena is providing
the stage for the much-anticipated
climax of this season’s Europa League,
adding another layer of football history to
both the Swedish capital and its state-ofthe-art stadium.
Friends Arena is proving a worthy heir
to the historic Råsunda Stadium, which it
replaced as the seat of Swedish football five
years ago. Located roughly 1km from the
site of the old ground in Solna, just north of
Stockholm, the arena was inaugurated on
14 November 2012, a night celebrated for
Zlatan Ibrahimović’s extraordinary bicycle
kick from outside the box in Sweden’s 4-2
victory over England.
More high drama followed at the
Women’s EURO 2013 final, where a crowd
of 41,301 watched Nadine Angerer save two
penalties and Anja Mittag score for Germany
against Norway to take the European crown.
Home to both the Swedish national
team and local club AIK, Friends Arena
is Scandinavia’s biggest football arena. The
footballing history it has helped to create
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Modern football pitches are as smooth as billiard tables and perfect for
a fast-flowing spectacle. But what is the science behind them? Awardwinning grounds manager Jonathan Calderwood explains how times
have changed and what exactly goes into making the perfect pitch.
t has earned praise from Lionel
Messi and Neymar in the UEFA
Champions League. UEFA declared
it the best pitch at EURO 2016.
And it has been Ligue 1’s best pitch
for the last three seasons. Even in an age
of beautifully telegenic playing surfaces,
it manages to stand out from the rest.
The pristine rectangle of grass at Paris
Saint-Germain FC’s Parc des Princes
is a perfect example of the modern
football pitch.
It is not the only one, of course. Think
of all the lights shining on emerald carpets
across the continent on a Champions
League night, and suddenly that not-sodistant age of wintry mudbaths and dusty
goalmouths seems light years away.
The man responsible for the pitch at
Parc des Princes is the club’s grounds
manager, Jonathan Calderwood.
The Northern Irishman, who was
lured to the French capital from Aston
Villa FC, where he had won eight
separate awards for his work, chuckles
as he reflects on how expectations
have changed.
PSG’s grounds manager,
Jonathan Calderwood, tends to
the Parc des Princes pitch.
UEFA DIRECT • May 2017 – 13
“I’ve been doing this job for 22 years now,
and back then all you did was prepare the
pitch as best you could, and that was it,”
he says. “You’d just cut it, mark it out
and make it look the best you could – no
questions asked. Now, it’s all about trying
to keep the players on the pitch and give
the coach the type of pitch he wants for
whatever type of football he plays. It’s all
about how quick the pitch is, how much
water is on there, the height of the grass,
how hard or soft the pitch is, the traction
on the pitch – whether players slip over –
and so on. Even a bad bobble can cost a
club tens of millions.”
This search for pitch perfection is a
relatively new phenomenon. When Bill
Shankly became manager at Liverpool FC,
he asked the Anfield groundsman where
Getty Images
A muddy Anfield pitch during
a match between Liverpool and
Tottenham Hotspur in 1971.
14 – UEFA DIRECT • May 2017
the watering facilities were and was told
they had none. In that era, clubs would
use braziers and flame throwers to try to
melt the ice on frozen grounds. Another
English club, Halifax Town AFC, even
responded to the ‘Big Freeze’ of 1963
by opening their pitch up to the public
as an ice rink. Even when Calderwood
began working in the game in the
‘The pressure now to
produce this perfect pitch
12 months a year is
unbelievable. Any injury at
all is scrutinised, and any
bad bounce is scrutinised.’
Jonathan Calderwood
mid-90s, the forensic approach found
today had yet to arrive.
He even cites the example – albeit
unusual in any era – of a grounds manager
in one European country who would stay
at home on the day of a game, considering
his work done. Needless to say, that would
never happen today.
“The grounds manager is now such a
massive part of the club and the team, it’s
unbelievable,” says the Northern Irishman,
who has a 15-strong team working under
him in Paris. “We’ve got better tools
to do the job, but the pressure now to
produce this perfect pitch 12 months a
year is unbelievable. With the amount
of money that is involved in the game,
these big teams are buying massive
players, and they want to keep them
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on the pitch. Any injury at all is scrutinised,
and any bad bounce is scrutinised.
“We’re continually talking to the coach
and the fitness coach and the performance
guy and the doctor and the physio. You’re
really in the middle of that team now,
whereas before you were just seen as the
guy who looked after the pitch and cut
the grass and put some white lines on it.”
Jonathan Calderwood talks about
the dedication required to be an
award-winning grounds manager.
Getting the perfect pitch
So, what exactly goes into making the
perfect pitch? Let us start with the playing
surface itself. In the case of Calderwood’s
pitch at Parc des Princes, the surface is
stripped every summer and new grass
seed is sown, using perennial rye grass –
a cool-season grass well suited to the
northern European climate.
Not every club has this luxury. Those
in urgent need will buy readymade turf
grown at a nursery or farm and roll it out.
However, seeded grass pitches tend to
be stronger. At Parc des Princes, as
Calderwood explains, they have a Desso
Getty Images
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The Switzerland v Turkey match at EURO 2008
was played in difficult conditions following
a downpour.
“The working life of a groundsman at
the elite level is so demanding – the
days can be long and you need absolute
commitment. We work all day Saturday
and all day Sunday, because most of our
matches are at nine o’clock on a Sunday
night. But when you do this job, 95%
of the time you are doing it because it’s
a passion – you love pitches and you
love grass. You don’t really do it for
money. I love football, and for some
reason I love grass. It comes from my
father. He was a keen gardener back in
Northern Ireland, and growing up I was out in the garden all the time working for him,
cutting the grass and doing the flowers. I loved football as well, so the two came hand
in hand.”
Grassmaster pitch containing 3% synthetic
fibre, which gives added stability to the
pitch. “There’s 180mm of it sitting below
the surface and 20mm sitting above the
surface. So, the whole synthetic fibre is
200mm long, and that is stitched every
2cm apart. That makes it a reinforced
pitch, with the natural grass roots
growing around these synthetic fibres.”
There are three distinct layers below
the grass surface of the pitch, starting
with the ‘root zone’, which is 120mm deep
and made up of 95% sand and 5% organic
matter to help the grass grow. Beneath this,
Calderwood explains, is 180mm of sand
to aid drainage. Then comes the undersoil
heating system and 100mm of gravel.
Then, at the very bottom, elite clubs will
all have a sophisticated drainage system.
“Some guys might have a SubAir system
which can blow warm air or cold air
through the pitch,” explains Calderwood
of one example of the hi-tech systems
available. “You can also reverse it and pull
water through the pitch. So, if you have a
big downpour an hour before kick-off, you
just push a button and it sucks the water
out of the pitch. Sometimes, if you have
a lot of water, the smell becomes a bit
stagnant, and you can hit the button
and it sucks the bad gasses out of the soil.
Deputy Head Groundsman,
Wembley Stadium
Head Groundsman, Aston Villa FC
and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC
Head Groundsman, Aston Villa FC
Head Groundsman,
Paris Saint-Germain FC
Leading a team of
at Parc des Princes and the SaintGermain-en-Laye training ground,
and working on preparations for a
new 18-pitch training centre
UEFA DIRECT • May 2017 – 15
Getty Images
Getty Images
You can also blow air up and crack all the
sand to allow air to come into the sand.”
Not all the technology is below the
ground, either. “There are ultra violet
lights we wheel on to replicate the sun,”
he adds. “Think about all these stadiums
which block out the sunlight. It’s good
in one way because budgets are growing,
respect for the job is increasing, and
technology is improving too, but stadiums
are getting bigger, which is making things
more complicated.”
And yet, grounds managers are
finding solutions in the natural world too.
Manchester City FC’s use of garlic on
their pitch to counter the menace of
nematodes – minute worms which feed
on grass roots – is an example of a trend
towards using natural products in the daily
upkeep of pitches. “You have your main
basic feeding programme made up of
liquid and fertiliser, and that will be
supplemented with other bio-stimulants
like sugars, compost teas and seaweeds
to try to enhance the grass and the
strength of the grass. It is all about trying
to make the grass as strong as possible
for when players are twisting and turning
and sliding on it,” Calderwood explains.
In Calderwood’s case, he takes compost
collected from the forest and ‘brews’ it
in a teapot before spraying it on his pitch.
16 – UEFA DIRECT • May 2017
“This dirty water is full of bacteria, and
it goes into the soil and helps the fight
against bad bacteria and breaks down
the fertiliser to make it readily available
for the grass to grow better.” Memo to
visitors to his office: think twice if he
offers you a cup of tea.
Changing technology: from the laying of
Highbury’s under soil heating in 1964 to
today’s special lighting to help grass growth.
“The maximum length of ground shall be 200 yards, the maximum breadth shall
be 100 yards.” Thus, the dimensions of the football pitch – decided in 1863 at the
founding meeting of The Football Association – were set out in the first printed
version of the complete Laws of the Game. In metric measurements, this means
183m by 91m. By any measure, this was an astonishingly loose regulation, allowing
pitches to vary considerably in size.
A subsequent amendment in 1897(1) stipulated that pitches should be 91–119m
long and 46–91m wide, albeit with greater precision required for international
matches (101–110m long and 64–73m wide). Today, the regulations governing
UEFA’s competitions allow for fewer surprises, with pitches required to be 100–105m
long and 64–68m wide.
This ensures – no pun intended – a more level playing field, although the lack of
uniformity of old certainly allowed for some wonderfully quirky pitches. For instance,
English club Yeovil Town FC’s former ground, Huish, had a 2.4m slope from sideline
to sideline. It also allowed coaches to use pitches to their advantage, with teams
who were strong at set pieces (such as long throws) favouring narrow pitches,
for example.
Rous, S., & Ford, D. (1974). A History of the Laws of Association Football. FIFA.
Cut and watered
Modern footballers are now finely
tuned, scientifically honed athletes,
and the pitches they play on are also
prepared to the nth degree – up to and
beyond the first whistle. The way the
grass is cut is of no little significance
in this regard, as Calderwood explains.
“Some clubs use the height of the
grass to their advantage. If you’re a
quick-passing, free-flowing football
team, you are going to want your grass
as short as possible so the ball moves
quickly across the surface. But if you’re
not such a passing team and want to
upset the other team a little bit and
slow the pitch down, you might decide
to leave the grass 30mm long.”
According to UEFA’s regulations,
the height of the grass “may not, in
principle, exceed 30mm” in any game
in its competitions. There are also detailed
specifications regarding the watering
of pitches, with regulations stating:
“The pitch must be watered evenly
Getty Images
Fabio Capello wanted the
pitch as dry as possible before
his Milan side’s 1994 UEFA
Champions League final win over
and not only in certain areas. As a general
rule, pitch watering must finish 60 minutes
before kick-off. However, upon decision
of the home club, pitch watering may also
take place after that time, provided it takes
place: (a) between 10 and 5 minutes before
kick-off, and/or (b) during half-time (for a
maximum of 5 minutes).”
One club where pitch watering is as
integral to the team’s culture as their
pre-match anthem is FC Barcelona. Prior to
their 1994 Champions League final against
AC Milan in Athens, opposition coach Fabio
Capello refused a request from the Catalan
club for the pitch to be watered, and the
Italian’s logic was clear: why allow the
Dream Team a slicker surface on which to
play their scarily swift football?
After all, watering the grass close to
kick-off is all about increasing the speed
at which the ball skims over the surface.
Indeed, during Pep Guardiola’s time at
the club, the groundsman would even
enter the dressing room at half-time,
armed with an up-to-the-minute local
weather forecast, to consult the captain
and a member of the coaching staff on
how much watering was required during
the interval.
This leads us to another intriguing
point about today’s pitches. Their impact
on the way the game is played is clear for
all to see. Their speed and smoothness
are integral to the basketball-style
spectacle that is often witnessed in
matches marked by lightning-quick
counterattacks. Yet their impact on
players’ bodies is still being assessed.
‘A different injury pattern’
“It increases the speed of the game,
which means you get a different injury
pattern,” says Professor Jan Ekstrand from
the UEFA Injury Study Group. “If you look
at the injury studies we have done over
the last 15 years, we can see that the
general injury risk has not changed, but
some types of injury have increased,
such as muscle injuries, and some
have decreased, like ankle sprains.”
Getty Images
Professor Jan Esktrand has observed
changing injury patterns on today’s
pitches with more hamstring and
fewer groin injuries.
A quicker sport has resulted in more
hamstring injuries, but Professor Ekstrand
is also working on fresh research – due
to be sent to the British Journal of Sports
Medicine – which identifies, he says,
“a clear decrease in groin injuries over
the last 15 years”. On the heavier pitches
of old, where players’ feet would get
stuck in the mud, groin injuries were far
more prevalent.
It is also worth nothing another piece
of research – from a nine-season study
spanning nine different European countries
– which points to a higher incidence of
anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries
among players who play on harder, drier
pitches in southern Europe.(1) There may
be more injuries overall in the colder
northern European countries, but, as
Professor Ekstrand observes, a hot sun
“dries the pitch, and a dry pitch has
greater friction, which means you can get
your foot caught in the pitch and get a
twisting rotation of the knee, which
increases the risk of ACL injuries”.
While that is more of a climatic factor,
a long-serving doctor at one Champions
League club has identified another
potential injury risk directly connected
to the make-up of the modern pitch –
It was a decade ago, during the 2006/07
season, that the first Champions League
group stage fixture took place on artificial
turf, with FC Spartak Moskva hosting
Sporting Clube de Portugal at Stadion
Luzhniki. That came four years after the
launch of UEFA’s Artificial Turf Project,
featuring pilot project partners in Austria,
the Netherlands, Russia and Sweden.
Today, Andorra play all of their
European Championship and World
Cup qualifying games on a 3G surface
at Estadi Nacional. Further afield, the
entire 2015 Women’s World Cup in
Canada was held on artificial pitches.
Suffice to say, these synthetic
carpets are a world away from the early
experiments witnessed in the English game
in the 1980s, when Queens Park Rangers
FC and Luton Town FC became the first
clubs to host top-flight football on plastic
18 – UEFA DIRECT • May 2017
Getty Images
FC Spartak Moskva v Sporting Clube de
Portugal on 27 September 2006 was the first
UEFA Champions League match to be played
on artificial turf.
pitches in a major European league.
Two other lower-league clubs, Oldham
Athletic FC and Preston North End FC,
followed suit, although by the time
Oldham won promotion to the top flight
on a 2G plastic pitch in 1991, the rules
had changed and they had to revert to
natural grass.
Joe Royle, Oldham’s manager at the
time, remembers the benefits of that pitch
– which provided a place to train and was
a year-round, revenue-raising community
resource – as well as the widespread
scepticism surrounding such surfaces.
“QPR’s pitch”, Royle says, “was basically
a plastic mat of grass laid on concrete. I
remember a game there when the
ball bounced once and went over the
bar.” In Oldham’s case, the pitch at
Boundary Park was “on a rubber dynamic
base with a long pile of plastic grass, twothirds filled by sand. So you could actually
pass the ball on it and pass it forward
without it running out of play.”
Opponents remained suspicious,
however. “I remember a last-minute
equaliser at Southampton in the League
Cup,” he chuckles. “I found myself
jumping out of the dugout shouting
‘Back to plastic!’ and it was totally for
their benefit.”
‘A dry pitch has greater
friction, which means you
can get your foot caught in
the pitch and get a twisting
rotation of the knee, which
increases the risk of ACL
Professor Jan Ekstrand
UEFA Injury Study Group
‘Root zone’
95% Sand
namely, the strip of artificial turf that runs
the other side of the touchline at many of
today’s grounds. “That, to me, makes no
sense,” he says. “If you are a full-back,
you might have to be half off the pitch
and still running. You’ve got one foot
on there and one foot on the grass,
and that is potentially dangerous.”
The football pitch will continue to
evolve, but one thing that is not in doubt
is the fact that today’s surfaces are now
more conducive to good football than
ever before. When Manchester United FC
visited FC Rostov recently in the UEFA
Europa League, their round of 16 match
was played on an uncharacteristically
bumpy pitch, giving their players a
glimpse of how things used to be for
their predecessors – not easy at all.
As Jonathan Calderwood – a creator
of many fine pitches himself – observes,
the overall quality has never been so high.
“I saw a game on TV the other night,
and the commentator was saying the
pitch was not very good,” he says.
“In front of the goals was a bit brown,
but the rest of it was looking pretty good.
But according to the TV, it was a ‘disaster’.
Even in front of the goals, you’ve got
grass covering the goalmouths all year
round now. When you look back at the
pitches in the 70s and 80s, they were
mudbaths. It’s incredible how expectations
have changed.”
5% Organic
Pitch contains 3% synthetic fibre
which gives added stability
Waldén, M., Hägglund, M., Orchard, J.,
Kristenson, K., & Ekstrand, J. (2013). Regional
differences in injury incidence in European
professional football. Scandinavian Journal of
Medicine & Science in Sports, 23(4), 424–430.
UEFA DIRECT • May 2017 – 19
Achieving higher participation figures in eastern Europe is an increasingly important
challenge. This subject was analysed in detail at a regional UEFA GROW summit
hosted by the Georgian Football Federation in Tbilisi on 2 and 3 March.
explained UEFA’s national associations
director, Zoran Laković.
UEFA Grassroots Ambassador Per Ravn Omdal in
discussion with some of the delegates in Georgia.
of the people in the 14
eastern European countries
are registered players,
compared with an average
of 3.37% in other UEFA
Facts and figures
The figures presented in Tbilisi make for
interesting reading. For instance, although
around 50% of the total population of
UEFA's member associations live in the 14
eastern European countries in question,
those countries are home to just 14% of
Europe’s registered players. Indeed, just
0.68% of the people in those countries
are registered players, compared with an
average of 3.37% in other UEFA countries.
For every football club in those 14
countries, there are 8 in the rest of Europe.
There are also 18 times as many female
coaches and 10 times as many female
referees in the other UEFA countries as
there are in those eastern European
countries. The lack of physical activity in
those countries is another concern, with
47% of adults, 52% of women and 43% of
children considered to have been physically
inactive for the last 12 months.
The meeting in Georgia noted that
low participation levels were having a
negative impact not only on eastern
Europe’s performances on the international
stage, but also on commercial revenues.
Only one eastern European country – Russia
rowing Participation in Eastern
Europe was the title of a
conference which brought together
representatives of the national associations
of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia,
Georgia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania,
Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Turkey
and Ukraine. They were joined by 11
ministers from those countries, a number of
senior government representatives as well as
delegates from the Council of Europe.
This regional summit was organised under
the auspices of UEFA GROW, a programme
which helps national associations to
develop football at all levels across Europe.
Discussions focused on the reasons why
participation levels in sport – especially
football – are lower in eastern Europe than
in the rest of the continent.
The key objective was to seek common
solutions to challenges that are shared by
national associations across eastern Europe
in terms of getting more people playing
football, fostering greater understanding
of the importance of the grassroots, and
generating greater support for efforts to
boost participation. “Through UEFA GROW,
supporting the UEFA Grassroots Charter, we
realised that participation rates were low
across eastern Europe, and that this was a
challenge that was particular to the region,”
20 – UEFA DIRECT • May 2017
Kakha Kaladze, Georgia's vice-prime minister
and energy minister, addressed the summit.
– will take part in this summer’s UEFA
Women’s EURO 2017, compared with 15
from elsewhere in Europe. Meanwhile,
in men’s football, none of the 14 eastern
European associations feature in the top 15
of UEFA’s aggregated U17 and U19 boys'
and girls' coefficient rankings. Various
major issues were identified, including a
lack of accurate participation data, the
absence of a grassroots philosophy, a
lack of insight into players’ wants and
needs, and a failure to establish grassroots
club infrastructures to deliver a clear
participation growth strategy.
“The objective of the summit was to fully
understand the participation challenges
faced by our national associations
in eastern Europe and find solutions
together, so that more people would
have opportunities to play the game, right
across the region,” Laković explained.
Next steps
Various measures are now being
implemented as a result of the gathering
in Tbilisi. UEFA has pledged to provide
the national associations with even better
data demonstrating the business case
for investing in the grassroots, while also
seeking to have a positive influence on
policy at the highest levels within the
European Union and the Council of Europe.
National associations will continue to work
with their governments to assess the gaps
in grassroots sports, in order to invest in a
strategic manner to grow participation.
In addition, greater emphasis will be
placed on strategically driving participation
growth through the UEFA GROW
programme. The associations stressed the
need for closer alignment with government
objectives and policies, in order to ensure
that they and their governments could
work in tandem to grow participation in
football, and sport in general.
The 14 national associations also
underlined their firm commitment to
nurturing grassroots football, and ensuring
the presence of the structures necessary to
deliver participation growth.
Participants at the summit in Tbilisi welcomed the opportunity to examine the issue
of participation levels in eastern Europe, and returned home with new ideas and
fresh perspectives on this subject. Here are some of the many positive reactions to
this event:
“We in Poland are
just embarking on a
large participation
growth project in
cooperation with UEFA,
so this summit came at exactly
the right time. It gave us the
opportunity to develop our thinking
in this area, and we are now focused
on delivering great results for Polish
football in the coming years.”
Zbigniew Boniek, president of
the Polish Football Federation
“Organising a UEFA
GROW summit on
such a key issue was
an excellent idea,
as it shows that UEFA
really understands the issues that
the various regions face, and is
ready to tackle them. Having the
Council of Europe and sports and
education ministers present was really
important, as we need to build strong
partnerships with them in order to
achieve the mass participation that
we desire.”
Răzvan Burleanu, president of
the Romanian Football Federation
“Having just
developed our
new Towards 2020
strategy, this summit
gave us the opportunity
to bring our government officials
here to see how serious we – the
national associations and UEFA
– are about growing grassroots
participation. This will certainly
help us to deliver on our objectives
in Lithuania.”
Edvinas Eimontas, president of
the Lithuanian Football Federation
“The Georgian Football
Federation was
delighted to host such
an important UEFA
GROW summit, as we
really believe that we must all get
more people to play the game. This
summit offered us the chance to
showcase the grassroots programmes
that we have introduced over the
last year, and show how well
they are progressing.”
Levan Kobiashvili, president of
the Georgian Football Federation
“We are currently
moving forward
with our grassroots
plan, so it was
important for us to see
the clear link between the number
of people who play football at
grassroots level and the impact
on international performances
and revenues. We look forward to
strong cooperation with UEFA in
terms of growing the grassroots
in Ukraine.”
“We are delighted that
UEFA is seeking to find
local solutions to local
issues facing football.
We had great discussions
with other national associations
facing similar challenges, and
received insights and research that
will be most useful in developing our
grassroots programmes.”
Andriy Pavelko, president of
the Football Federation of
Armen Minasyan, general secretary
of the Football Federation of
UEFA DIRECT • May 2017 – 21
Peter Hilbert
Norman Timari’s Hungary (left) and
Halldor Stenevik’s Norway are both
through to the final tournament
in Croatia.
After a total of 126 qualifying matches, we now know which 15 teams
will line up alongside hosts Croatia in the final round of the 2016/17
European Under-17 Championship.
he final round of the 2016/17
European Under-17 Championship
begins on 3 May and already the
competition has thrown up its fair share of
surprises. Portugal beat Spain on penalties
in Baku to lift the trophy in 2016, but they
will not be in Croatia to defend their title,
missing out after losing their final elite
round game 2-0 to their Iberian rivals.
One team’s pain is another team’s gain,
however, and the Faroe Islands have been
celebrating after qualifying for the finals
of a UEFA competition for the very first
time. They finished as one of the seven
best runners-up, ahead of Portugal. The
Faroe Islands will be joined in Croatia by
another side competing in their first final
tournament at Under-17 level – Norway.
The other contenders are largely familiar.
England are back for a record 12th final
tournament at this level, as are France,
the Netherlands and Spain, who will
each be contesting their 11th. All four
have won the competition twice and
will be bidding to become the first side
to win a hat-trick of titles.
The final tournament was expanded
to 16 teams in 2014/15 to give more
22 – UEFA DIRECT • May 2017
Group stage: 3/4, 6/7, 9/10 May
Quarter-finals: 12/13 May
U-17 World Cup play-off: 16 May
Semi-finals: 16 May
Final: 19 May
Stadium Zaprešić, Stadium Lučko,
Stadium Velika Gorica, Stadium Sesvete,
Stadium Varaždin, Stadium Rujevica,
Stadium Kostrena
youngsters the chance to experience the
intensity of high-level competition, and the
record crowd of 33,000 that watched hosts
Azerbaijan’s opening match against
Portugal certainly provided all the
atmosphere of a senior fixture.
‘A big experience’
With Croatia hosting their first-ever UEFA
youth tournament, their coach, Dario Bašić,
believes that this will be an important
learning experience for his players and an
opportunity for them to show what they
are capable of on the international stage:
“I can’t think of a better development
opportunity than playing here among the
best teams in Europe. It is very important
for all players to play at a high level, and
at this age it is extremely important to have
as many big matches as possible. This will
give the players valuable experience and
show them where they stand in elite
European football. It is crucial for them
to learn how to accept advice and how
to develop their talent. This will be a
big experience for them. They have an
opportunity to prove their quality and
point their careers in the right direction.”
The players do not have to look far for
an example of how the experience of
competing at this level can soon lead to
greater things. The likes of Andrés Iniesta,
Wayne Rooney, Mario Götze and Cristiano
Ronaldo all took their first international
steps on this stage, as did another
Portuguese midfielder – Renato Sanches
– more recently. Sanches was part of the
Portugal side that reached the semi-finals
of this tournament in Malta in 2014 – two
years before going on to help Portugal win
their first senior title at EURO 2016, picking
up the young player of the tournament
award in the process. He has fond
memories of his time in the Under-17s.
“Those tournaments help you to develop
and grow,” he explains. “You have a lot
of responsibility. Those tournaments push
you to give your best and represent your
country well. They’re a way for you to
learn. The advice I would give to younger
players is to give your best in those
tournaments and always represent your
country well. The best goal to have is to
always be humble and a winner. Play well
or badly, but always give your best and
try to win, because victories are what
will bring you happiness.”
Welcoming hosts
Croatia has hosted two previous UEFA
tournaments: the final round of the
UEFA Regions’ Cup in 2009 and Futsal
EURO 2012. With 16 teams competing
this time around, the president of the
Croatian Football Federation, Davor Šuker,
admits that this tournament represents
an “organisational challenge”, but says:
“Our talented and hard-working team is
totally dedicated to delivering a top-class
tournament. Croatia is one of the world’s
most beautiful countries, and we are
looking forward to introducing its many
wonders, as well as our hospitality, culture
and cuisine, to participating players,
coaches, staff, officials, fans and media
representatives. Though only one team
can lift the trophy, all of our guests can
enjoy the tournament experience, both
on and off the pitch – and that is our
goal as hosts.”
The tournament will be staged around
Rijeka on the Adriatic coast and Zagreb,
the capital, with the final in the northern
city of Varazdin. Croatian pop star
Eni Jurišić and former international
Niko Kranjčar are the tournament’s
ambassadors and both are looking forward
to welcoming fans to their country in May.
“I have wonderful memories of playing
for our national youth teams, and I won
a bronze medal with the Under-16s in
2001,” Kranjčar explains. “I am delighted
to be an ambassador for such a major
tournament and feel really honoured.”
Jurišić’s duties, meanwhile, include
writing the tournament’s anthem (see
right), which she hopes will be a big hit,
just like the football. “The song is cheerful
and has a strong motivational message,”
she says. “I’m delighted to be involved,
because these are young people trying to
fulfil their dreams and I’m happy to be able
to help them on their way. The name of the
song is ‘As One’, which is also the slogan
for the tournament. It says that together we
are stronger and our hearts beat as one.”
This year’s European Under-17
Championship final round will be the first
finals of a UEFA youth competition to be
held in Croatia, and the Croatian Football
Federation (HNS) has taken several steps
to make it a memorable occasion for all
involved and to leave a lasting legacy for
football in Croatia.
The HNS plans to visit dozens of
elementary and football schools in the
Rijeka and Zagreb regions to introduce
the tournament and present its Fan Culture
programme. Promoting positive values
and behaviour to future footballers and
fans is one of the HNS’s main goals. As part
of the Fan Culture project, the HNS will
distribute materials to youngsters, including
leaflets with ten fan commandments and
fan paraphernalia.
The HNS has engaged two ambassadors
for the tournament. Famous national team
player Niko Kranjčar has taken on the
role of football ambassador, while young
singer Eni Juršić is the music ambassador,
with her song Kao jedno (As one) being
used as the official tournament anthem.
At the same time, #AsOne will be used as
a slogan for the tournament, sending a
positive, energising and inclusive message to
everyone – including all the different teams,
players and fans. The HNS has also launched
a dedicated website for the tournament
( and social media accounts
on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, all of
which are labelled @u17EuroCroatia.
The local organising committee is working
hard to ensure that everyone – players, fans,
coaches and officials – enjoys their time in
Croatia. While making sure that the teams
enjoy good sporting conditions and can
perform to their full potential on the pitch,
the HNS is also looking to showcase the
cultural, natural and gastronomical treasures
that its country has to offer.
The final tournament will
also act as the qualifying
competition for Europe’s
five berths at the U-17
World Cup in India, from
6 to 28 October 2017.
UEFA DIRECT • May 2017 – 23
The Faroese Under-17 team have caused a sensation by qualifying
for the European Under-17 Championship finals in Croatia in May.
Holding on to vital victory
The Faroe Islands’ elite round mini-tournament
was played in Cyprus, and the Faroese team
got off to a poor start, losing 4-0 to the Irish
favourites. But in the following match, against
the hosts, they held on for a 0-0 draw. This
meant that a win against Slovakia in the final
group game could result in a place in the finals
if the Republic of Ireland beat Cyprus at the
same time.
The boys got off to a very good start against
Slovakia, with Tórur Jacobsen giving the
Faroe Islands the lead after a rebound off the
crossbar. At half-time the Faroe Islands were
still leading Slovakia 1-0, and when Hanus
Sørensen, who had just recently signed an
academy contract with Danish Super League
side FC Midtjylland, scored with a header to
make it 2-0, the Faroese players and staff could
barely believe their own eyes – they had the
finals in their sights.
Slovakia did manage to pull one back, and
they put some pressure on the Faroese side,
but the underdogs stood firm and held on to
a vital victory, as did the Republic of Ireland.
When Albanian referee Andi Koçi blew
the final whistle the whole Faroese squad
stormed onto the pitch to celebrate their
sensational qualification.
“It was a fantastic feeling and it really took
some time to sink in,” coach Áki Johansen
told Faroese radio after the match.
Massive credit to players and staff
The result is a massive credit to the players and
staff. For the Faroe Islands Football Association
the result is of immense importance. It shows
that even if you are a country of only 50,000
inhabitants, on the pitch it is 11 against 11
and anything can happen.
Johansen and his assistant, Pól F. Joensen,
an IT sales manager and a carpenter by trade,
24 – UEFA DIRECT • May 2017
have done a tremendous job to achieve
this result. But now the focus of the Faroese FA is on giving the team the best possible
circumstances in which to prepare for the
final tournament in Croatia.
Only the top 16 Under-17 teams in Europe
take part in the finals, and it is worth
mentioning that the Faroe Islands and Norway
are the only Nordic countries to have qualified.
Motivating other teams
The Under-17s’ achievements are tremendous
not only for the team and the staff, but also
for other Faroese youth teams who dream of
qualifying for the finals of a UEFA competition.
The team have now shown not only that it is
possible to qualify for an elite round, but to go
all the way to the finals. With the island’s other
teams all watching closely, the question now is:
who will be next?
This should motivate not only the Faroe
Islands’ youth teams, but teams from other
small nations too. Size is not all that counts
and sometimes the underdogs really do pull
off a sensation, as the Faroese Under-17s
have shown.
H. E. Danielsen/FSF
he team already made Faroese
footballing history in Luxembourg
last October when they qualified for
the elite round. They were drawn into a group
with Cyprus, the Republic of Ireland and
Slovakia, which was considered relatively lucky,
but no one ever imagined they would make it
as far as the final tournament.
The Under-17s'
achievements are
tremendous not only
for the team, but also
for other Faroese
youth teams who
dream of qualifying
for the finals of a
UEFA competition.
95 323
124 373
130 432
130 392
130 400
130 397
135 400
135 381
135 394
135 382
135 384
134 406
135 382
159 375
157 415
Number of matches
Number of goals
Odsonne Édouard
Bojan Krkić
José Gomes
Jonatan Soriano
Paco Alcácer
Morten Rasmussen
Tevfik Köse
Average goals per game
2011, 2012
2007, 2008
Czech Republic
Republic of Ireland
Manuel Fischer
Collins John
Tomáš Necid
Wayne Rooney
Czech Republic
Faroe Islands
Abel Ruiz
Jari Schuurman
Dominic Solanke
Yannis Tafer
Simon Vukčević
Deniz Yilmaz
Jaime Gavilán
Sandro Iashvili
Nikola Kalinić
Toni Kroos
Milan Purović
2010, 2014
2004, 2015
Bruno Gama
(as at 28/3/2017
before final
Denis Calincov
126 397
Northern Ireland
2003, 2016
2006, 2013
SINCE 2001/02
UEFA DIRECT • May 2017 – 25
The FA
The final round of the tenth European Women’s Under-17 Championship is
taking place in the Czech Republic from 2 to 14 May, with a suitably strong
cast contesting the trophy.
The contenders
Group A
Czech Republic, Germany,
Spain, France
Group B
Republic of Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, England
Match schedule
Group stage
2, 5 & 8 May
(Plzen, Pribram, Domazlice, Prestice)
Semi-finals: 11 May
(Domazlice, Pribram)
Final: 14 May in Plzen
he holders and five-time champions
Germany are back to defend their
crown, but they did not have things
all their own way in qualifying. Indeed,
they had to wait to find out whether they
had qualified as the best runners-up after
finishing second to England in their elite
round group. England’s 2-1 victory over
the defending champions in Telford was
sweet revenge for the Lionesses, who
had been knocked out by Germany in
the semi-finals in Belarus last season.
Spain are the second most successful
side at this level with three titles, and
they will be hoping to make it four in
the Czech Republic after comfortably
advancing through qualifying with victories
against Iceland and Portugal and a draw
with Sweden. Spain have reached the
last three finals, winning one in 2015
and losing the other two to Germany.
Norway (semi-finalists last season),
26 – UEFA DIRECT • May 2017
In the elite round, England beat Germany
2-1 at home on 27 March. Both teams
have qualified for the final round in the
Czech Republic.
the Republic of Ireland (runners-up in
2010), France (three-time runners-up),
the Netherlands and the Czech Republic
complete the line-up.
Tournament ambassador and former
Czech international Pavlína NovákováŠčasná believes the event could have a
lasting impact on women’s football in her
country. “This is a real milestone for Czech
women’s football,” she says. “We’ve never
hosted a tournament like this. I hope a lot
of youngsters start playing after this. I will
take my children to the games so they can
see how beautiful women’s football is.”
Football certainly runs in NovákováŠčasná’s family. Her father, Zdeněk Ščasný,
was a Czechoslovak international and
AC Sparta Praha great, while her brother
Michal also played professionally. She was
named Czech female footballer of the year
five times, and her impressive CV features
clubs such as AC Sparta Praha, FC Bayern
München, Philadelphia Charge and LdB
Malmö. She hopes that this tournament
will help to inspire the next generation
of players.
“This will be an invaluable experience
for them,” she says. “They will gain
confidence and great memories. But it’s
also important to enjoy the occasion.
This is a unique experience that cannot
be had anywhere else.”
Matches will be played at four venues
in Bohemia, west of the capital Prague,
in Plzen, Pribram, Domazlice and Prestice,
with the final being contested at Stadion
města Plzně on 14 May. The final will
also be screened live on Eurosport.
Karel Rada won 43 caps for the Czech Republic as a defender and played in the final of EURO ‘96.
Now coach of the Czech women’s Under-17s, the 46-year-old will be hoping to make that experience
tell when his country hosts the finals of the 2016/17 European Women’s Under-17 Championship.
The Czech Republic
qualified for the
final tournament
for the first time
last summer. How
important was
that experience
for your players?
It was a tremendously valuable experience.
They faced the very best European teams.
I realised the value of that recently when
we played Spain for a second time. The
players’ performance in that game was
significantly different. The first game
against such a strong side is all about not
showing too much respect and dealing with
your nerves. As you get used to playing
them, your self-confidence really grows.
What are the key things to
teach players of this age?
We are still working on individual skills
and players’ technical abilities. We also
work on team tactics, developing the
ability to play in different formations.
The players should be equipped with
those skills by Under-19 level.
What sort of impact has the
new Czech women’s academy
had on your work?
It represents a truly giant leap forward.
I see improvements in the players every
day. We work with them for a week every
month. There is time for us to show them
how to organise their training regimes,
not only regarding football, but also as
regards healthy lifestyles. Things like that
are also important if they want to reach
the top. They understand what elite sport
means and what they must do to reach
that level.
What are your side’s strengths?
If we want to succeed – and for me,
getting out of our group would be a great
achievement – we have to work as a team
as much as possible, be ready to help each
other and support each other. It’s a case
of ‘all for one and one for all’.
Is there extra pressure on the
home team?
Whether you admit it or not, there is.
Friends, family in the stands, media
interest, spectators … Players put pressure
on themselves. Suddenly, they start trying
too hard and that eagerness destroys the
quality of their performance. We talk
about it a lot with the girls. We will
need to include some activities in our
tournament programme that are
unconnected with football to allow
them to relax mentally.
But how important is home
It would be great to have full stadiums.
I know from my own career what a great
bonus that is for the players. We are
looking forward to having the fans on
our side and inspiring their support.
I hope they will be proud of us.
You were one of the pioneering
coaches of Czech women’s
football at youth level …
We started many years ago. At that
point, we only had weekend training
camps for representative teams from
Bohemia and Moravia. We established
an Under-15 team and saw them
progress with every game they played.
The UEFA development tournaments
at Under-16 level are also a great thing
for the players. They arrive ready for
the Under-17s with at least a handful
of international caps. The difference
is visible from the first minute of
the game.
Your surname means ‘advice’
in Czech. What advice will you
be giving your players?
I will remind them that they already
have some experience from last year
and that there is nothing to be afraid of.
We have done our homework and are
well prepared. We just need just to put
our hearts into each game and keep
chasing our goal – to qualify from
the group.
Hosting the final round of the European
Under-17 Women’s Championship will
hopefully result in a great boost for
women’s football in the Czech Republic.
The country’s hosting of the European
Under-21 Championship finals in 2015
was a resounding success, and the Football
Association of the Czech Republic (FAČR)
is hoping for a repeat performance in May.
This final tournament will be the largest
women’s football event ever staged in
the Czech Republic. The FAČR has left
no stone unturned when it comes to
making the tournament a success, not
only in terms of organisational matters,
but also as regards raising awareness
Czech Republic set to organise its biggest-ever women’s football event
among fans in the four host cities –
Plzen, Pribram, Domazlice and Prestice.
The FAČR has been working with local
clubs to promote the tournament, and
cooperating closely with regional and
city authorities. Communication with
local schools is also very important in this
regard, with 12,000 schoolchildren set to
attend the first games. Those children can
also look forward to receiving motivational
packages containing sports equipment.
Fun sports festivals will be organised
as an important social element of the
event. These will be aimed primarily at
families with children, placing them at
the very heart of the tournament.
The organising committee is also planning
a music competition for bands and several
accompanying football tournaments for
children and young people.
UEFA DIRECT • May 2017 – 27
URO 2016 may have ended nine
months ago, but it is having a lasting
impact in and around the ten host
cities thanks to a €20m legacy project
aimed at developing football-related
infrastructure. In Saint-Étienne, for
example, the authorities decided to divide
their share of the funds among different
communities in the greater urban area
to create a network of infrastructure and
encourage people to play at their local
clubs. They limited the level of funding for
each community project to €170,000 for
28 – UEFA DIRECT • May 2017
the construction of new facilities
and €68,000 for renovation work,
with the proviso that all grounds should
meet the standards required to host
competition matches.
Jean-Jacques Fradin, director of sport
at the local authority of Saint-Étienne
Métropole, describes how the projects
were selected: “Rather than investing the
whole €2m in a single project, we wanted
the money to benefit as many people as
possible across the 45 communes that
make up our metropolitan area. We
wanted EURO 2016 to leave a lasting
legacy throughout our urban community
of 400,000 people. The initial €2m
attracted additional funding that brought
the overall investment to €12m, which is
an enormous sum for an area of our size.”
Managed by the communes themselves,
the new and renovated grounds provide
amateur players with much nicer, betterequipped facilities, which offer a real
boost in terms of attracting and retaining
players and increasing the game’s overall
appeal. “In the city of Saint-Étienne,
Saint-Étienne Métropole
The UEFA EURO 2016 legacy project, through which each of the tournament’s ten host
cities were given €2m to invest in football-related infrastructure, has had a tangible and
lasting impact in France, and nowhere more so than in and around Saint-Étienne, where
18 new facilities have been built for the benefit of 24 different communes.
‘A real godsend’
One club that benefited is Roche-SaintGenest, which straddles the municipalities
of Roche-la-Molière (population: 10,000)
and Saint-Genest-d’Erlept (6,000). Despite
being barely 10km from the centre of
Saint-Étienne, these two large villages
are in a very rural area. At an altitude of
about 500m and with winter temperatures
plummeting to around -10°C, playing
football in winter used to be something
of a challenge. However, thanks to the
legacy project, the old dirt pitch, which
had certainly seen better days, was
replaced with a state-of-the-art artificial
pitch with floodlights that could be used
for regional and district competitions.
The club’s president, Stéphane Kunz,
explains: “Our grass pitches used to cause
problems because the local authorities
wanted us to go easy on them. Depending
on the time of year, up to three official
matches can be played on a pitch every
week: one on Saturday, one on Sunday
morning and one on Sunday afternoon.
But in winter, you can’t play more than
one match a week, and sometimes
none at all! So we converted our old
100m by 60m dirt pitch, which we hardly
ever used because it was usually unplayable
and even dangerous in winter, into a 105m
by 68m artificial pitch. It’s a real godsend
for training and matches in winter. Unless
it’s covered in frozen snow, we will be able
to use this pitch all the time.”
The 18 projects that received legacy
funding were spread across 24 different
communes in and around Saint-Étienne
and the initial €2m from UEFA stimulated
matched funding that brought the total
investment to €12m.
1 Cellieu ChagnonRenovated
2 FraissesRenovated
3 Roche-la-Molière
Newly built
4 Le Chambon-FeugerollesRenovated
5 Lorette
Newly built
6 L’Étrat/La Tour-en-JarezRenovated
7 Saint-Priest-en-JarezRenovated
8 Saint-HéandRenovated
9 Firminy
Newly built
10 Génilac
Newly built
Newly built
12Saint-Joseph/Saint-Martin-la-Plaine Newly built
Newly built
13 Saint-Christo-en-Jarez
14 Saint-Étienne – EtivallièreRenovated
15Saint-Étienne – Etivallière
Newly built
Newly built
18La FouillouseRenovated
In terms of tangible benefits, half of
the 18 clubs that benefited from the
EURO 2016 legacy project have seen
a significant increase in their numbers
of registered players, while the others
now enjoy greatly improved training
facilities for all age groups: “For the
small municipalities that used to have
dirt pitches, the improvement in playing
conditions is phenomenal, not only for
the adults but also for all the youth
teams, both boys and girls,” Roland
Goujon explains.
“To sum up,” Stéphane Kunz adds,
“this sustainable investment has
enabled us to increase both the
quality and quantity of our training
sessions. Not only that, but our club’s
brand image has also been enhanced
in the minds of our 500 registered
players and their families. Finally,
and this is perhaps the most important
thing, people who might want to join
us – players and coaches alike – find
the club more appealing now. It's given
us a boost in every sense of the term."
Saint-Joseph received €145,000
from the legacy fund to build
a brand-new pitch (left), which
promises to be just as popular as
the new artificial turf installed
here in Chambon-Feugerolles.
Saint-Étienne Métropole
which has a population of 170,000,we
decided to invest in a pitch that anyone
can use, whereas in the surrounding
communes, most of which have fewer
than 10,000 inhabitants, we focused our
efforts on facilities for clubs and their
players. That is why all renovated pitches
had to be capable of staging competition
matches,” says Roland Goujon, the SaintÉtienne Métropole local authority’s vicechairman responsible for sport. “We didn’t
want to pour all our resources into one
location, but to share the funds among
18 stadiums in 24 municipalities. That
way, the local impact was obviously much
greater. In an area like ours, which has a
great football tradition, all our clubs have
lots of registered players, and they were
all able to benefit. Some still played on dirt
pitches or on very old grass. These projects
improved training and playing conditions,
which in turn led to an increase in the
number of registered players.”
The coaches of all the clubs involved in this season’s UEFA Youth League were
invited to the House of European Football in Nyon on 20 and 21 March for the
inaugural UEFA Youth League Coaches Forum.
75 coaches and heads
of academies attended
the inaugural UEFA
Youth League Coaches
Forum in Nyon.
30 – UEFA DIRECT • May 2017
of tomorrow. As a result, academy and
youth team coaches are spending more
time readying their players for the step
up to first-team duty, thereby playing
an increasingly important role in young
players’ careers.
‘A better chance of succeeding’
“In the past, players often had to go
into the world of professional football
and adapt very quickly on the hoof,”
said Manuel Jesús Cano Martín, coach
of Club Atlético de Madrid’s youth team.
“But now, a footballer from the youth
academy can go in with their Youth
League experience, having played one
or two seasons in a competition like this,
and they’ll know a lot more about that
environment and that atmosphere. They
will be much more used to playing at
that level, which will give them a better
chance of succeeding.”
The presentation also looked at the
need for coaches to strike a balance
between the players they have at their
disposal and their favoured philosophy.
One of the ensuing discussions focused
on the role of academies, and there was
unanimous support for even greater
emphasis being placed on the
development of young players.
“Academies play a fundamental role,
and all of us here have the huge
responsibility of coaching those players
and helping them to become the future
of football,” said Valencia CF coach Mista.
“Everything is much more professional
now. There is no doubt about that. These
days, a player at an academy is already
semi-professional. That’s the trend within
football nowadays. Maybe youngsters
will now start to have a lifestyle that’s
exclusively dedicated to football at a
younger age.”
However, what these players may lack
in comparison with previous generations
is raw talent shaped by the largely
disappearing phenomenon of street
football. While players of the past were
brought up playing – sometimes barefoot
– on cobbled streets and in alleyways,
improvements in facilities and across
total of 75 coaches and heads
of academies participated in the
first-ever UEFA Youth League
Coaches Forum, which featured discussions
and debate on coaching trends, the Laws
of the Game and the role and importance
of the Youth League, as well as a question
and answer session with UEFA Champions
League-winning coach Fabio Capello.
All attendees received a certificate
recognising their participation in the
event as further education within the
meaning of Articles 24 and 29 of the
UEFA Coaching Convention.
The event began with a look at the
technical report on the 2015/16 Youth
League and a presentation on coaching
trends by UEFA’s managing director of
technical development, Ioan Lupescu.
That presentation highlighted the
variety of playing styles being used
by successful teams at EURO 2016
and in the Champions League.
It is noticeable that the approaches
adopted by the top teams of today
tend to be reflected in the youth teams
Innate talent and development
“It’s true that, with today’s academies
and systems of play, players improve,
but they also lose the value of that innate
talent,” Mista said. “Academies churn out
mechanical players in many cases, and
you lose some of that talent. I think 50%
of each would be the ideal ratio, so that
a player can be part of the team dynamic,
but once he takes to the pitch within a
structure, he can play his own football.
We sign players because they have innate
talent, so we have to foster that, rather
than take it away from them.”
Sevilla FC coach Agustín López Páez
had a contrasting view on the subject,
with the forum encouraging coaches to
air their opinions and discuss them with
their colleagues. He said: “I don’t feel like
street football has been ‘lost’. In reality,
we’re evolving at an incredible rate, and in
practical terms, coaches and coaching staff
are much better prepared and the players
are much better prepared. There are still a
lot of talented players, and they’re getting
even better. But if we’re going to focus on
the essence of what we’ve talked about,
playing in the village square, we can’t go
into that kind of teaching, because hardly
anyone plays in village squares nowadays!
We have to adapt to how life has changed.
I also think it’s positive that, at all the
various youth academies, there is also
work being done at an individual level,
with technical development departments
helping players to refine their technical
skills. Players nowadays are much better
prepared in every way, and we have to
try to avoid getting confused by this kind
of terminology.”
Participants also had the opportunity
to exchange views on the Youth League
and make proposals to UEFA that could
potentially benefit the competition and
its development.
“This competition is the pinnacle of a
youth player’s development and education
process, since – as we all know – they are
playing against the best in Europe, the
best players of their generation, and
sometimes older generations,” said SL
Benfica coach João Tralhão, who will
A presentation on the
Laws of the Game by
UEFA refereeing officer
Hugh Dallas ensured the
coaches were up to date
on recent refereeing issues.
society as a whole mean that this tends
not to be the case nowadays. Participants
were asked whether this was leading to
a decline in the number of naturally
creative footballers, with fewer players
now capable of running at opponents
with the ball.
return to Nyon on 21 April with his side
in the final four of this season’s Youth
League. “That forces them to compete at
a level exceeding their own ability – which,
of course, helps their development. I think
the future of European football looks
bright, as many young players are
increasing in value and standing out in
this major competition.”
As part of the two-day forum,
Tralhão and the coaches of the other
three semi-finalists, Real Madrid CF,
FC Barcelona and FC Salzburg, all took
part in an entertaining friendly match
at Colovray Stadium – the venue for
the semi-finals and the final. Those four
footballing pedagogues were exemplary
in their respect for one another on the
pitch, and that will continue when they
return to Nyon later this month.
A presentation on the Laws of the
Game by UEFA refereeing officer Hugh
Dallas ensured the coaches were up to
date on recent refereeing issues, before
Fabio Capello, who guided AC Milan to
the 1993/94 UEFA Champions League title
and has won domestic league titles in
both Italy and Spain, talked to participants
about coaching and youth development as
part of a round-table discussion (see
interview on next page).
Capello brought with him an array of
anecdotes and a wealth of advice, and
the coaches, many of whom are right at
the beginning of their careers, certainly
appreciated his input. They will now be
seeking to emulate the 70-year-old Italian,
armed with all the insight they gained
from the inaugural UEFA Youth League
Coaches Forum.
UEFA DIRECT • May 2017 – 31
A fine art enthusiast, Fabio Capello can look proudly at the wealth of football silverware that
sits alongside the artworks he has acquired over the years. Successful as a midfielder with
AS Roma, Juventus and AC Milan, winning four Serie A titles and earning 32 caps for Italy,
he has gone on to become an outstanding coach, amassing a total of five Italian domestic
championships with AS Roma and AC Milan, and two La Liga titles at Real Madrid CF.
hen you consider that
his CV also features
1994 UEFA Champions
League and UEFA
Super Cup titles with
Milan, as well as stints coaching the
national teams of both England and Russia,
it is obvious that Fabio Capello draws from
a vast reservoir of experience and
knowledge when he talks about football
and coaching – as he did as guest of
honour at the recent UEFA Youth League
Coaches Forum in Nyon.
How did you transition
from player to coach?
I stopped playing in 1980, and I started
coaching the 15-year-olds at Milan.
I moved on to the 17–18 age group, and
then the 20-year-olds. I coached youth
teams for five years. In my opinion, it’s
very important for coaches with ambition
to understand how to manage youngsters.
When did you have your first
taste of coaching a first team?
I became assistant to Milan’s first-team
coach, Nils Liedholm, in 1987. The
president asked me to take charge
of the last five matches, and we qualified
for the UEFA Cup. Nils Liedholm stayed
on with us, and I wanted that. He was
32 – UEFA DIRECT • May 2017
a coach who had made history in Italian
football. He had vast experience, and he
had given a lot to the game.
You studied at the Italian
federation’s technical center in
Coverciano and gained experience
in other sports. That must have
given you considerable insight
into all aspects of management.
I worked at Mediolanum Sport [Milan’s
multisport club], where I was in charge
of basketball, ice hockey, rugby and
volleyball. That was actually very important
for me, as it helped me to understand the
psychology of different sports, of different
players, of different ways to approach a
match. Milan’s president, Silvio Berlusconi,
sent me on management courses. It was
all hugely valuable.
Is there anyone who has had
a particular influence on your
coaching career?
I was lucky enough to play at Roma
under Helenio Herrera, who also
coached the great 1960s Inter Milan team.
He used to say something very simple:
“You play the way you train.” He said that
you can’t train at 60km/h and then think
that you can play at 100km/h on a
matchday. Then, at the end of my playing
career, I worked under Liedholm,
who made me realise that you can
always improve technically. To improve
tactically is important, but technique is
equally important.
In a discussion with UEFA
last year, Carlo Ancelotti also
mentioned Nils Liedholm as one
of his main mentors, saying he
didn’t copy him, but still learned
a lot from him.
Liedholm was a very calm person,
but with great personality. I learned
from him the importance of
understanding the moments that your
team goes through. He always exuded
extreme calm.
Is it fair to say that a coach
might take inspiration from
a variety of important sources –
but, in the end, you still have
to be your own man?
Our job – like the job of any artist –
is to go around ‘stealing’ and copying.
But after you’ve ‘stolen’ and copied,
you must mould things according to your
own ideas. Think of the great artists ...
Picasso copied the African artists, and
he became a genius. So, my philosophy
is ‘steal, copy and develop’ ...
UEFA DIRECT • May 2017 – 33
‘I was lucky enough
to play at Roma under
Helenio Herrera [below],
who also coached the great
1960s Inter Milan team.’
Presse Sports
Getty Images
You only have a short period to
work with players for national
team matches …
If you’re playing on a Thursday, the players
arrive on the Monday after playing a
league match, so you do nothing that day.
On the Tuesday, you have a ‘half’ training
session; on the Wednesday, you prepare
for the match; and on the Thursday,
34 – UEFA DIRECT • May 2017
Top left: Fabio Capello’s first senior coaching
experience came at AC Milan as assistant to
Nils Liedholm.
Above: European Cup-winning coach Helenio
Herrera (right, holding glass) who Capello played
under at AS Roma. Below: Capello during his
playing days in 1976.
Getty Images
You’ve managed big clubs and
national teams. What is the major
difference for a coach between
coaching a national team and
coaching a club?
It’s a different job. Managing a national
team has nothing to do with managing
a club. A national team manager is lucky
if he has a consolidated block of players
who come from one or two clubs, have a
winning mentality, have desire, can carry
other colleagues along with them and,
above all, can quickly apply your style
of play on the pitch. You also have to
find leaders in the squad. If you don’t,
it’s very difficult.
you’re on the pitch. It’s essential to have
a group of players who feel part of the
national team and want to win trophies.
On the other hand, a club manager works
on a daily basis and understands how he
needs to work, what he needs to improve
and where the relevant strengths lie.
He can work on the team psychologically
when they win and when they lose, so it’s
a daily job. With a national team, the job
is completely different.
Your teams are usually quite
intense and physically well
prepared. Do you regard specific
fitness training as something
important within general training?
You need to find the right balance. In my
opinion, the most important thing is the
work that you do in pre-season. I have
always stressed the importance of good
pre-season preparation. But this depends
on the league that you’re coaching in.
In England, they are always playing.
They don’t train as much because they
have to recover. In Spain and Italy, you
can do more. It also depends on what
competitions you’re in – if you’re taking
part in European competitions and playing
a lot of matches. I keep saying that you
can plan, but the most important thing
is the manager’s eye – his ability to
understand the team’s level of fitness
and understand whether it’s a physical
issue or a mental one. And nowadays,
you obviously have to work on things
like technique and speed as well.
How do managers adapt
when they coach teams
in different countries?
I can say from experience that in Italy,
you have to adapt to the city where you
work. There are significant differences
between coaching Roma, Juventus and
Milan. If you change countries and go
to work in Spain, you have to understand
where you are going. The players are
used to doing things in a certain way,
the football is different, the culture is
different, the media are different …
There’s a big difference in Italy between
Rome and Milan, and there’s a bigger
difference between Italy and Spain.
If you go and work in England, you
need to understand where you are,
what their customs are, and so on.
Capello imparted his wisdom during
a question-and-answer session at the
UEFA Youth League Coaches Forum in Nyon.
Below: The Italian won La Liga in 2007 during his
second coaching spell at Real Madrid,
pipping FC Barcelona to the title.
So, you have to be
mentally flexible …
You can have your own ideas about
football and your own way of managing,
but you must also understand the
place that you’re working in – because
if you don’t, then you’re going to have
huge difficulties.
If you’re coaching abroad,
communication must be
extremely important …
It can create certain problems, I must say.
When I was with Russia, two players
spoke Spanish and two spoke English.
My communication with the players was
always through an interpreter, so you
can’t always really express what you’re
feeling inside and wanting to get across –
whether in difficult times or when things
are going well.
I had two spells at Real Madrid, the second
of which was after they had gone a few
years without a trophy. That second spell
gave me the greatest satisfaction, as we
won the title in 2007 despite having been
some way behind FC Barcelona with only a
few matches remaining.
Quite an achievement …
Tell us more about that.
I told the team that they were as good
as Barcelona, both in terms of strength
and in the way they played. I told them that
we had to play each match as if it were a
final – and if Barcelona still ended up ahead
of us, so be it, we would applaud them.
You must have created a fantastic
team spirit on that late run …
There was a unique team spirit – a level
of commitment that was almost crazy.
It’s very important to tell you about
the key role that psychology plays in
the minds of experienced players …
or how it can block them. Our last match
was against RCD Mallorca. We were level
on points with Barcelona, but having
drawn in Barcelona and won at home,
we were top of the table. We just needed
to win the match. However, in the first
half, international players – experienced
players – were playing with fear. They
weren’t doing anything right. And we
were one goal down at half-time.
So, what did you do at half-time?
I usually asked the players not to say a word
for the first four or five minutes. They could
change their kit, wash themselves and do
whatever they needed to do. Because if
you start talking as soon as you enter the
dressing room, you risk saying stupid things
because you are nervous. It’s important
that a coach stays calm. I used those four or
‘That second spell at Real
Madrid gave me the greatest
satisfaction, as we won the
title in 2007 despite having
been some way behind
FC Barcelona with only a
few matches remaining.’
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Which of your achievements have
given you the most satisfaction?
Well, one team that gave me many
trophies and great feelings of satisfaction
was Milan … but that was a team that
had already been put together. I changed
a few things, but the team had already
been built. The biggest struggle for me
was at Roma, because I had to bring a
winning mentality to the team.
UEFA DIRECT • May 2017 – 35
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As coach of the all-conquering
AC Milan side of the 1990s,
Capello lifted the
UEFA Champions League
trophy, masterminding a 4-0
victory over FC Barcelona in the
1993/94 final.
‘I have never accepted compromises. The team is my
responsibility. You need to have a strong personality.
You have to be fair, but you need to have the strength of
character to stand your ground when you’re in the right.’
five minutes to think about how to change
things around, because a tactical switch
is simple, but there are also times when
you have to work on the psychology of
the team.
And on this particular occasion?
You can’t always act the same way to
change things around. There are times
when you have to shout to wake the
players up … but in a moment of fear,
what do you do? What do you say?
I used that time to think. Should I get
upset? Should I laugh? Should I talk
quietly? Usually, I would stand up and
tell the players to do this or that. This
time, since the players were showing fear,
I asked one of them to make space for me
and I sat down. I was sat at the same level
as they were. I simply told them that we’d
done something unbelievable and asked
why we should gift Barcelona the title
now. I said: “Go out on the pitch and
play like you do in training.” That’s all.
I didn’t say anything else. And we came
back to win, meaning that we were
crowned champions.
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Are there any players you
have coached that stand out?
The greatest player I’ve ever coached is
the Brazilian Ronaldo, although I ended
Left: Capello coached Brazilian great Ronaldo
at Real Madrid during the 2006/07 season.
Bottom right: His most recent coaching role was
as Russian national team manager between 2012
and 2015.
up selling him at Real Madrid! He was so
technically skilful at speed – like no other
player that I’ve seen. Over 30 metres,
he did things at full speed, starting
and stopping, changing direction …
You’ve come to UEFA for the UEFA
Youth League Coaches Forum.
At the clubs where you’ve worked,
have you been able to dictate the
philosophy and decide how to
develop young players?
At every club where I’ve coached, when
I arrived, I always asked for four or five
youngsters from the academy to train
with the first team. Sometimes, we would
speak with the person responsible for the
youth system to assess who deserved to
be training with the first team. In this way,
you would find out about young players’
characters and how they would adapt.
What if they had difficulty
If, after training with us, they behaved
arrogantly, we would react by not calling
them up for first-team training. They then
understood that if we did call them back,
they would have to give more – that they
had to change. What happens, therefore,
is you find out that one player is ready
for the first team, while another might
perhaps need to be sent out on loan [to
another club] to gain experience. There
are young players who have character
and go out on the pitch with no fear,
and there are others that don’t have
such self-confidence.
How different is managing players
now in comparison with the past?
The difference is huge. Many things need
to be taken into consideration. In some
respects, managing the group was easier
then. There were no agents, so clubs
could manage all of the whims that today’s
players have under the influence of their
agents. They were also more relaxed times:
there was a president who took decisions,
and the manager was in charge of the
team. Nowadays, you have agents, and
club owners come from countries with
different cultures. The rules have changed,
and that makes life difficult for a coach.
At some stage, a coach may
have to make some compromises.
How do you see the game evolving
in tactical and technical terms in
the future?
I believe that football will be more tactical
in the future, so we need to be more
tactically aware, better prepared and
technically faster. There will be a need for
much more focus on the pitch. We’re very
advanced in the area of statistics, and
through things like heart rate monitors,
and especially with the use of video
technology, which allows you to watch
and prepare your team, and then helps
you to sell your ideas to them.
What about playing systems?
I don’t believe that you can play just
one system. It depends what players
you have. I always say that you have to
make your wine using the grapes that
you have. You can’t produce champagne
or a Bordeaux with every kind of grape.
So, you have to look at the grape that you
have, and you have to be smart enough
to understand it. You have to find the
formation that makes your players perform
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the best. A manager has to be able to
understand the potential of his team.
Finally, what would you say is
the hardest thing for a manager?
Choosing the starting 11, deciding who
will sit on the bench and who will be in
the stands – that’s the hardest thing. It’s
a matter of courage and having a winning
mentality. The coach has to have the
courage to choose. He must be brave and
understand why a player who is perhaps
only at 85% might – or might not –
perform better than another player.
And you have to understand players’
worth. If you don’t understand the real
value of your players, you can’t help them
to improve.
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Where is the limit for a coach in
making such compromises with
owners and players?
I have never accepted compromises.
The team is my responsibility. You need
to have a strong personality. I think you
have to be fair, but you need to have the
strength of character to stand your ground
when you’re in the right. Because if you
give in – with the players, as well – you
show your weak points. We’re judged
on how we treat the star players, how
we treat the young players, how we
behave after a loss or a win, what our
reactions are, and so on. You’re constantly
under scrutiny, so you need to be
extremely careful and prepared. I treat
stars and youngsters the same way.
No one has ever asked me: “Why aren’t
you saying the same thing to that guy?”
or “Why can that guy do that?” In a team,
we’re all equal – all of us – if we want to
win. If you don’t want to win … then
accept compromises.
Getty Images
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A fan-led project focuses on good governance, sustainable finance and volunteer engagement.
EFA is currently co-funding a project
that promotes good financial
practice in football. The initiative is
coordinated by UEFA partner SD Europe,
an organisation that assists supporters in
becoming formally involved in their clubs
as well as developing member ownership
of football clubs generally.
The Clubs and Supporters for Better
Governance in Football project brings
together six member-run football clubs
and various European national supporters’
organisations and focuses on three key areas
to enable growth: governance, sustainable
finance and member/volunteer engagement.
The project, also funded by the
European Union under its Erasmus+
programme for education, training,
youth and sport, will help promote
38 – UEFA DIRECT • May 2017
EU principles on good governance in sport
through a two-year training, education
and exchange programme involving
project partners from seven EU states.
Malmo workshop
As part of this initiative UEFA attended
a workshop in Malmo, Sweden, joined
by UEFA social responsibility partners
including Football Supporters’ Europe
(FSE), CAFE (Centre for Access to Football
in Europe) and Fare.
The workshop participants discussed,
among other things, ways of achieving
financial sustainability and how clubs can
operate without neglecting their founding
principles. UEFA explained the importance
of evaluating football finances today and
the various challenges which can arise.
UEFA has been working with SD Europe
for many years. This meeting was a great
opportunity to see and hear directly how
national supporters’ organisations and
member-run clubs at all levels of the game
have developed and perceive football.
The various project partners are taking
part in a series of exchange visits over
the lifetime of the two-year project,
with key learnings and best practices being
compiled to shape a comprehensive online
training tool by the end of 2017.
Antonia Hagemann, CEO of SD Europe,
said: “It is great to see how member-run
clubs and national supporters’ groups
benefit from this project. The feedback has
been very positive and we look forward to
further improving the way we all operate
based on shared values and principles.”
EFA’s women’s football workshop series
kicked off in Northern Ireland, followed
by events in England, Germany,
the Netherlands, France, Finland, Norway,
Sweden, Denmark and Wales.
The Together #WePlayStrong campaign will
be officially launched on 1 June before the
UEFA Women’s Champions League final in
Cardiff. The campaign is underpinned by
research that will help all those involved at
all levels of women’s football to increase
participation, raise the game’s profile and
improve access for coaches, teams and players.
Starting in Northern Ireland
As hosts of this year’s European Women’s
Under-19 Championship final round, the Irish
Football Association in Northern Ireland,
which is also launching a drive to recruit
women football leaders, is taking significant
steps to boost participation and address
inequalities in women’s football.
At the first of the special workshops, UEFA
delivered advice to delegates from the Irish
Football Association on how to take advantage
of marketing opportunities and encourage
engagement on the ground and through
social media, as well as how to maximise
Press Eye
As part of its preparations to launch a five-year campaign to make women’s football the
number one participation sport in Europe, UEFA is on the road, working with national
associations across the continent in a series of special workshops.
Northern Ireland hosted the first
Together #WePlayStrong workshop.
sponsorship. Stakeholders from women’s
football at all levels, from the grassroots to the
elite, shared experiences, discussed barriers to
access and worked together to find solutions.
Gail Redmond, women’s domestic manager
at the Irish FA, said: “We were delighted to
be the first country to pilot the Together
#WePlayStrong workshop and we believe
this initiative will be key in helping us to reach
our goal of making football the number one
sport for women and girls in our country.
“We are proud of our close relationship
with UEFA and are excited about the growth
prospects for women’s and girls’ football
over the next five years. We want to increase
participation at all levels and we plan to
energise clubs to build capacity by prioritising
club development.
“We found the presentations to our
staff informative and it was helpful to offer
stakeholders in Northern Ireland an opportunity
to voice their views on how to improve and
develop the game here.”
Guy-Laurent Epstein, UEFA’s director of
marketing, applauded Northern Ireland for the
enthusiasm and commitment shown by those
working in women’s football, particularly the
many volunteers. “There is a great appetite to
develop women’s football in Northern Ireland,
and it comes at a time when football has
enjoyed good levels of investment,” he said. “The newly opened National Football
Stadium at Windsor Park is a beautiful stadium,
and the success enjoyed at EURO 2016 has
inspired many within football to help children
and young people, including girls, to take up
the game.
“We recognise that putting football at the
forefront for women across Europe is a big
challenge, but we feel very confident we are
on the right track. We have developed a toolkit
for all national associations to tailor to their
needs, and with UEFA’s support it will help to
make football the number one sport played by
women in Europe.”
UEFA DIRECT • May 2017 – 39
The Association of Football
Federations of Azerbaijan (AFFA)
held its annual general meeting at
Boulevard Hotel in Baku on 15 March.
AFFA president Rovnag Abdullayev
opened the meeting by welcoming
the delegates, guests and media
representatives in attendance and telling
them about what AFFA had done to
further the development of football in
Azerbaijan during the reporting period,
highlighting some of the positive results.
AFFA general secretary Elkhan
Mammadov announced that TV channel
CBC Sport had made a video about
AFFA activities during the reporting
period and gave a detailed overview
after the video was shown.
Tural Piriyev, head of AFFA’s
marketing and sponsorship department,
and volunteer programme director
Vugar Rustamli also addressed
the meeting.
Min Yuan, deputy representative of UNICEF
Azerbaijan, one of AFFA’s partners, was
then invited to take the floor. She talked
about UNICEF Azerbaijan’s work in
cooperation with AFFA and presented
their latest video.
AFFA’s chief accountant, Khalid Javadov,
presented the 2016 financial report, and
the delegates then heard from Ulvi Hasanov,
representing AFFA’s independent auditors.
After all the speeches and reports,
elections were held for a vacancy on
the AFFA executive committee. There
was only one candidate, namely Zaur
Akhundov, president of Azerbaijan’s
futsal federation, so an open vote was
held and Mr Akhundov was elected.
The AGM was followed by an
executive committee meeting and a
press conference with Mr Abdullayev.
On 7 March, Belgium’s national
training centre in Tubize played host
to the Belgian Homeless Cup, in
which more than 250 players in 21 teams
competed alongside each other in a spirit
of fun and friendship.
This event is a socio-sporting football
tournament for homeless people and other
acutely vulnerable members of society. With
teams coming together from all over Belgium,
it gives people an opportunity to regain
confidence in themselves through football
and enjoy the experience with others.
“It’s a great honour for us to come and
play here at the Red Devils’ training centre,”
explained Dirk, the goalkeeper of the team
from Leuven. “Lots of people need a day
like this to put a smile back on their face
and connect with other people who have
experienced the same kinds of difficulty in
their lives.”
40 – UEFA DIRECT • May 2017
The event was attended by the secretary
of state for the fight against poverty and
equal opportunities, Zuhal Demir, who
said: “Sport is the best way of restoring
social cohesion. People can meet here
and talk about their various experiences
in life. Football is giving these homeless
people an opportunity to regain
confidence in themselves and meet other
people. Football has a role to play in
society, and the fact that the Royal Belgian
Football Association has agreed to take
part in this project is very important.”
The Belgian Homeless Devils and
the Belgian Homeless Flames will soon
be pulling on the national shirt on the
international stage, with the men’s and
women’s teams both taking part in the
15th Homeless World Cup later this year.
That tournament, which will take place
in Oslo from 29 August to 5 September,
will be a great opportunity for the
players to make headlines and show
off their skills.
Rijeka and Zagreb regions. The HNS has
also launched a dedicated tournament
website,, and social
media accounts on Facebook, Twitter
and Instagram, all of which are labelled
Two months before the opening
match of the European Under-17
Championship finals, the Croatian
Football Federation (HNS) gave a
presentation on the tournament to the
Croatian media and public. During the
well-attended media conference, the
HNS presented Niko Kranjčar as football
ambassador for the tournament and
young singer Eni Jurišić as the music
ambassador and performer of the
tournament anthem, Kao jedno (As one).
Jurišić was accompanied by Kranjčar for
the filming of the official music video,
and the pair were joined by the Croatian
U17 team and children from local
football schools.
To further promote the tournament
and its legacy, the HNS is introducing
a project entitled Fun Culture to
elementary and football schools in the
Niko Kranjčar (left), Eni Jurišić and
Dario Bašić (Croatian U17 coach).
During the HNS assembly in March,
coaches Željko Huber and Stanislav Vugrinec
were presented with the HNS’s highest
individual accolade for contributions to the
development of youth football in Croatia.
Vedran Ćorluka was presented with the
Fiery Wings award by the Croatian national
team’s fan club, in honour of his brave EURO
2016 appearance against Turkey when he
suffered a severe cut to his head. Youngster
Ante Ćorić was recognised as young player
of the year, while respected coach Stanko
Poklepović received an award for his lifetime
contribution to Croatian football.
Marijan Kustić was unanimously
elected as HNS vice-president after
Damir Mišković resigned due to his
many business obligations.
Meanwhile, the Croatian national team
players once again showed their support
for the ongoing fight against racism,
discrimination and violence at football
stadiums by promoting national minority
football camps ahead of their important
win against Ukraine in the European
Qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup.
For the first time in history,
two big names from the
women’s game have been
inducted into Danish football’s hall
of fame.
At this year’s Danish football awards
ceremony, Lone Smidt Nielsen and
Susanne Augustesen were named as the
latest new editions to Danish football’s
hall of fame, making them the first
women in the prestigious company
of players such as Michael Laudrup,
Allan Simonsen and Peter Schmeichel.
During her career, Smidt Nielsen
was often described as the best
female player in the world and, among
numerous achievements, won the
Italian championship twice with her club
Sanitas Trani. In 2015 she was named
female football player of the century
by the Danish FA.
Like Smidt Nielsen, Augustesen played
for Sanitas Trani and was part of the
championship winning team in the
1980s. In total, she won six Italian
championships and was Serie A’s top
scorer eight times, scoring more than
600 goals during her career overall.
Her list of achievements also includes
victory in the then unofficial Women’s
World Cup in Mexico in 1971, when
she scored all three goals in Denmark’s
3-0 win against the hosts in the final,
in front of 110,000 spectators at
Estadio Azteca.
In their acceptance speeches both
women underlined how proud they
were to be part of the increased focus
on women’s football in Denmark over
recent years and said that they wanted
to serve as role models for girls playing
football all over the country.
Lone Smidt Nielsen and Susanne Augustesen.
The Danish football hall of fame was
established in 2008, providing a
unique opportunity to remember great
accomplishments and to honour those
responsible for the finest results in Danish
football. Candidates for the hall of fame
are nominated by a special committee
and are named at the annual Danish
football awards ceremony.
UEFA DIRECT • May 2017 – 41
Committee member František Laurinec
addressed the congress, while UEFA
president Aleksander Čeferin sent
a video message. The number of people playing
football in Estonia has increased
exponentially. In 1995 the country
had just 2,651 registered players,
in 2013 the number was 17,359
and by 2016 it had reached 20,765.
Brit Maria Tael
The members of the Estonian
Football Association (EJL) have
re-elected 54-year-old Aivar
Pohlak as president of the organisation
for another four-year term. Mr Pohlak
was first elected as president in 2007.
The EJL congress also elected two
vice-presidents and ten board members.
Three new members have replaced
veteran football leaders Peeter Küttis,
Josep Katsev and Arvu Sild. The new
members are Estonia’s top female
player Anastassia Morkovkina, former
professional goalkeeper Daniil Savitski,
who now works as an attorney-at-law,
and infrastructure expert Teet Ilves.
The EJL congress was attended by
a record 95 delegates. UEFA Executive
In February, Borussia Dortmund’s
head coach, Thomas Tuchel, and
Stanford University chair and
literary theorist Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht
gave the first in a series of talks on playing
culture organised by the cultural foundation
of the German Football Association (DFB).
The talks go beyond the everyday to
address universal topics such as the
relationship between beauty and efficiency
and the ratio between predictability and
chance in the world’s most popular game.
Leading sports journalist Christoph
Biermann moderated the first two
intensive 45-minute discussions.
Thomas Tuchel is one of the greatest
advocates of a modern, technically
advanced, fast and attacking style of
football, and one of the game’s more
perceptive and critical thinkers. In 2009,
when he was in his mid-30s, he became
head coach of 1. FSV Mainz 05 and even
42 – UEFA DIRECT • May 2017
before joining Borussia Dortmund in 2015
he was regarded throughout Europe as
one of the most exciting coaches of
his generation.
In his book ‘Lob des Sports’ (In Praise
of Sport), Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht reveals
that outside his work, it is the world of
sport and stadiums that fascinates him the
most because of the ‘moments of intensity
and aesthetic pleasure’, as he describes it.
Together, the panellists discussed
football from a totally new angle, bringing
practice and theory together in a unique
format that produced a lively, fresh and
often surprising debate. Fast, energetic,
artful and at times heated, it was quite
a match, but after 90 minutes, the final
result was unequivocal – there is definitely
a place for intellectual discussions about
playing culture and healthy debate about
the state of football. The next talks are
planned for the second half of this year.
Georgia’s top domestic
championship kicked off on
4 March with a new name –
Erovnuli Liga – and a new format.
The league pyramid is now divided
into the following four tiers: Erovnuli
Liga, Erovnuli Liga 2, Liga 3 and the
Regional League. The top two tiers
have both been given the name Erovnuli
(Georgian for ‘national’) as a reminder
of the history and character of the early
domestic football competitions.
The Erovnuli Liga features the
country’s top ten clubs, competing
for the domestic championship title
over four rounds, played from spring
until autumn.
The Erovnuli Liga branding was
produced by the Georgian Football
Federation. It includes a new logo,
a new anthem and a new online
platform, as well as numerous other
innovative features that aim to increase
fan engagement and mass participation
in Georgian football. This is the first
time that the domestic championship
has had its own visual and audio
identity, digital platforms and brand
regulations on kit and stadiums.
Fans are now able to watch every
Erovnuli Liga match live online and,
as the league’s main partner, Georgia’s
public broadcaster will also televise one
live match a week and special weekly
and monthly roundups.
The Gibraltar Football Association
(GFA) is delighted to announce
the appointment of Aaron
Asquez as head coach of Gibraltar’s
national Under-21 team, with Michael
Felice as his assistant. Asquez holds
a UEFA B licence and both men bring
significant knowledge and expertise to
the GFA’s coaching staff, having been
involved in Gibraltarian football for
several years at various levels.
Their first match in charge will be
the team’s opening European Under-21
Championship qualifier, away to Austria
on 8 June. This will be Gibraltar’s firstever appearance in an international
competition at this level.
“These are exciting times for
Gibraltarian football,” said the GFA’s
technical director, Desi Curry. “Today’s
appointment gives two young, extremely
promising Gibraltarian coaches the
opportunity to develop their careers in
line with our philosophy for nurturing,
developing and allowing home-grown
talent to flourish on the world stage.”
Mr Curry also announced a change
to the GFA’s policy on coaches who are
involved with clubs also being allowed
to have a role with national teams: “The
policy is being amended slightly. Gibraltar
is a small place with a very limited pool
of coaches, most of whom develop
within our clubs and gain their invaluable
knowledge and experience at club level.
As technical director, what I want to see
is good coaches working consistently
at good levels, and that can only be
achieved by having regular contact with
club football. The policy I am putting in
place now will therefore look to allow
coaches who may be involved at club
Desi Curry (left), Aaron Asquez
and Michael Felice.
coordination offices of the SGS,” he said.
Since its inception, the Rete! project has
grown significantly, with more and more
young people participating from one year
to the next.
Another integral part of the project is
research by academics from the Catholic
University of Milan, who are looking at
challenging contexts in which football is
seen to have a positive effect. Speaking
at the launch event for the third edition
of Rete!, research coordinator Professor
As the national team prepared for
its evening match against Albania at
Stadio Renzo Barbera in Palermo on
24 March, the CEO of the Italian Football
Federation (FIGC), Michele Uva, was at the
nearby Villa Niscemi for the official launch
of the third annual Rete! project.
Organised by the FIGC’s youth and
schools division (SGS) in partnership with
the Catholic University of Milan, the
project supports unaccompanied foreign
minors living in centres run by the System
for the Protection of Asylum Seekers and
Refugees (SPRAR) throughout Italy. After
an opening address by the president of the
SGS, Vito Tisci, who stressed the FIGC’s
commitment to social responsibility, SGS
secretary Vito Di Gioia went on to outline
the scheme and its objectives. “Since 2015,
this project has provided a programme of
coaching and educational activities, which
are delivered at the participating centres
themselves in partnership with the regional
level to be involved with some of our
national youth selections, provided there
are no conflicts of interest and they do
not coach the same age groups at club
and national level. In order to make this
project a success, I know we can count
on the cooperation of the clubs going
forward – it needs all of us pulling in
the same direction.”
Emanuele Caroppo presented their findings
so far. Michele Uva then emphasised the
importance of the synergy between the
project partners – namely the FIGC itself,
the SPRAR’s national coordination service,
Italy’s interior ministry and the project’s
key sponsor, the Eni energy company – in
terms of the great social benefits of the
project, in which the FIGC continues to
invest and is committed to developing over
the years ahead.
During the day, about a hundred
young people from refugee and asylumseeker centres in Agrigento, Barcellona
Pozzo di Gotto, Bonagia, Caltanissetta,
Mazzarino and Milazzo, all in Sicily, took
part in a skills-development session
and mini-tournament led by the FIGC’s
local coaching team at the University
of Palermo. Prof. Caroppo took the
opportunity to meet with SPRAR staff
and learn about their day-to-day work
with the young people and the issues
they face. To cap off a special day,
following the tournament the young
players were accompanied to Stadio
Renzo Barbera to watch Italy’s 2018
World Cup qualifier against Albania.
UEFA DIRECT • May 2017 – 43
For the fourth year in a row,
Riga, the capital of Latvia, has
hosted the Federation Cup,
an elite youth competition for national
teams organised by the Latvian Football
Federation. The 2017 edition gathered
together teams of players born in or
since 1999 from FYR Macedonia, Latvia,
Norway and Ukraine.
The annual mini-tournament brings
together representatives of some of
Europe’s leading youth football systems,
inviting them to test their skills against
each other and their Latvian hosts. This
tournament, staged in early spring, serves
as one of the best opportunities for the
teams to roll up their sleeves before the
upcoming UEFA qualifying tournaments.
Ukraine won the first two editions
of the competition, while last year the
trophy was lifted by the Norwegians.
This year Ukraine once again proved
themselves to be the best team of the
tournament, winning against Latvia
and Norway and drawing against FYR
Macedonia. The Norwegians followed
one point adrift, while tournament
debutants FYR Macedonia came third.
The hosts lost all three of their games
to finish fourth.
As well as enabling youth players
to gain international experience, this
year’s tournament also supported
the learning curve of Latvian coaches
working towards their UEFA Elite Youth
A licences. They analysed every game
and put together training and game
plans as if they were coaching the teams
themselves. Latvia is currently running
its first UEFA Elite Youth A licence
course, on which a total of 21 local
youth coaches are enrolled.
As part of its efforts to encourage
children of all ages to play football,
the Lithuanian Football Federation
(LFF) has launched its first primary school
league competition. The pilot season
encompasses five regions and will
involve 72 teams and more than 1,300
participants, ranging from first to fourth
grade, playing small-sided indoor football.
44 – UEFA DIRECT • May 2017
The league aims to be fun for all, and
rewarding too, with everyone receiving
sports equipment and other prizes
courtesy of sponsors. For promotional
purposes, a well-known local composer
has created a league song, while football
fans have been invited to vote on the
names of the league mascots on Facebook.
For LFF president Edvinas Eimontas, who
attended one of the first matches, the
project had already met expectations after
the first week. “We’ve had great success
with fun-based football in kindergartens
and wanted to do something for children
taking their next steps in the game,”
he explained. “For the pilot season we
couldn’t accommodate everyone who
wanted to play, but hopefully in the next
few years the number of participants in
the league will reach at least 5,000.” The
competition is set to expand all over the
country as of autumn this year.
The agenda for the Liechtenstein
Football Association’s 2017
general assembly, which took
place on 30 March in Ruggell, included
elections for a number of positions on
the association’s board. Three board
members’ terms of office had come
to an end, including that of the president,
Hugo Quaderer. The 52-year-old
former sports minister, who has led the
association since 2015, was unanimously
re-elected for a further four-year term
by delegates from member clubs.
Looking ahead to the challenges
that the association is set to face in
the coming years, Hugo Quaderer
reiterated that he would continue to
do everything in his power to support
football in Liechtenstein over the next
four years and that all existing projects,
including the establishment of a new
technical centre, would be continued.
He also stressed the importance of
the association’s board remaining a
reliable partner for FIFA and UEFA.
Joseph Borg-MFA
It is 60 years since Malta played
their first official international
match, a friendly against
Austria on 24 February 1957. That game
ended 3-2 to the Austrians, who were
considered one of the best teams in the
world at the time, having finished third
in the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland.
To celebrate this anniversary, the Malta
Football Association (MFA) organised a
series of activities, which were coordinated
by MFA vice-president Matthew Paris.
The first activity was a reception in honour
of the players who lined up for Malta
on that historic day. It was an emotional
gathering for the players, many of whom
are now in their late 80s. Exclusive
mementoes and gifts commemorating
the match were presented to the veteran
players by the MFA president, Norman
Darmanin Demajo.
An anniversary logo was also unveiled,
a video feature commemorating the
match was shown and a message sent
by FIFA president Gianni Infantino was
read out. Other activities included the
release of a commemorative publication
compiled by the MFA’s communications
office, and visits by the Maltese national
squads to hospitals and children’s
homes under the MFA’s Football for Life
programme, which is supported by FIFA
and UEFA.
Six decades of international football
have also been earmarked as the main
theme of the MFA’s annual awards,
which will be presented shortly, and
the anniversary celebrations will feature
prominently in the build-up to Malta’s
much-awaited 2018 World Cup qualifier
against England on 1 September 2017.
team) and Svetlana Patraș (captain of the
women’s team), and Diana Bobuțac and
Iana Pogarevici, both of whom work as
instructors for CCPA/OFFS Moldova.
The match was well attended and
received good media coverage, with
match reports on the FMF’s official
website and on TV.
Vadim Caftanat
For the fifth year in a row, the
Football Association of Moldova
(FMF) and CCPA/OFFS Moldova
(Cross Cultures Project Association/Open
Fun Football Schools) organised a match
between former Moldovan women’s
and men’s internationals to celebrate
International Women’s Day on 8 March.
The men presented flowers to each of
the women before the match, which was
hosted by FC Zimbru Chişinău.
The head of women’s football at
the FMF, Natalia Ceban, and national
women’s Under-17 team coach Elena
Subbotina played an important part in
the match. Representatives of CCPA/
OFFS Moldova were also involved,
including assistant coordinators Iurie
Conusevici (head coach of the men’s
UEFA DIRECT • May 2017 – 45
The Irish Football Association’s
new Education and Heritage
Centre has officially opened.
Northern Ireland manager Michael
O’Neill and goalkeeping legend Pat
Jennings cut the ribbon at the centre,
which is housed within the National
Football Stadium at Windsor Park
in Belfast.
The facility tells the unique story of
Northern Ireland football using a variety
of media, interactive displays and key
artefacts. Visitors are able to relive the
atmosphere of famous nights, gain
insights into the drama on and off the
pitch and feel the rush of emotions
shared by everyone at the stadium – win,
lose or draw.
Irish FA president David Martin said:
“The creation of our Education and
Heritage Centre at the National Football
Stadium presents a fantastic opportunity
for the Irish Football Association to
showcase much of the 136-year history
of the game here.
“From the Irish Challenge Cup and its
first winners, Moyola Park FC, through to
the present day and the exploits of our
Michael O’Neill (left) and Pat Jennings.
national team at EURO 2016, there is all
sorts of nostalgic coverage. The British
Championship Trophy has remained
in Northern Ireland’s possession as we
were the last winners in 1984 and it is
also on display.”
46 – UEFA DIRECT • May 2017
of the messages used by the FRF to
communicate the fact that it is neither
normal nor acceptable to use violence
against children or to in any way abuse
them. It is hoped that the FRF’s support of
UNICEF’s development programmes in the
football community will further reinforce
these messages, as well as providing an
opportunity to raise awareness of
children’s issues, especially those involving
vulnerable and excluded children.
Alongside looking after the
sport itself, which is, of course,
the primary concern of all
national associations, social responsibility
is a key pillar of the Romanian Football
Federation (FRF). With this in mind,
on 10 March the FRF signed a three-year
partnership agreement with the United
Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF.
The goal of the partnership is to
develop and undertake joint action
and activities to promote quality,
inclusive education and to combat
violence against children.
The FRF will support projects launched
by UNICEF and the two organisations
will work together on awareness-raising
campaigns and fundraising activities. The
first campaign relates to violence against
children and is entitled ‘It is not normal
to be normal’. Next, funds will be raised
for a project promoting social inclusion
through integrated community services.
Numerous other projects will follow over
the course of the next three years.
‘The power of football for the future’,
‘YES to education, NO to violence’ and
‘Normality for children’ are just three
Sandie Blanchet (left) and Răzvan Burleanu.
“Football is a social phenomenon
that brings together millions of fans,
regardless of sex, profession, faith
or social status. We believe that if
this force is put to use on behalf of
education and to fight against all
forms of violence, many children will
be able to enjoy quality education in
a safe environment and will be inspired
to stay in school. In parallel, we can
help collect more resources for UNICEF
programmes, in order to raise the
standard of education available,” said
Răzvan Burleanu, FRF president, at the
official FRF-UNICEF press conference.
On the same occasion, Sandie
Blanchet, UNICEF’s representative in
Romania, said: “The partnership with
the FRF will help us raise awareness
and spread information about
educational rights and children’s
needs. We want to use the FRF’s
channels to communicate campaign
messages to as many football fans
as possible. They can help vulnerable
children access quality, inclusive
education and help stop violence
against children.”
Fresh from the election of Marco
Tura as president, the San Marino
Football Federation (FSGC)
has taken some important initiatives
and made some key appointments to
consolidate its progress on a number
of fronts. The recently elected FSGC
council has named Alberto Pacchioni as
general director and Massimo Bonini as
technical director. Both appointments,
which were the result of careful
selection processes, reflect the recent
developments in Sammarinese football
and the progress the FSGC has made
from an organisational and a technical
perspective. Former Juventus and
Bologna star Bonini set straight to work
alongside coaches from the FSGC’s
national and youth set-ups, his first
priority being to identify methods and
practices that will make San Marino’s
teams more competitive and prepare
them for the many challenges they face
in the months ahead. With making strides
at international level a central objective
of the FSGC, San Marino played friendlies
against Andorra and Moldova in the first
three months of the year in preparation
for their World Cup qualifier against
Czech Republic. The team will gain more
invaluable experience with a friendly
against Italy in Empoli on 31 May.
With these and many more initiatives
under way, the FSGC has its sights firmly
set on a new era of growth for football
in San Marino, founded on hard work
on the pitch and defined by success at
international level.
“The biggest problem that Serbia has in
regard to football is infrastructure.
“We have also talked with the
Serbian prime minister, who promised
to contribute to the financing of various
projects, such as the construction of
artificial pitches and a national stadium.
UEFA has already given considerable
help to Serbia, and will continue to do
so,” he said.
Slaviša Kokeza (left)
and Aleksander
The Football Association of
Serbia (FSS) was honoured
to receive a visit from UEFA
president Aleksander Čeferin recently.
Accompanied by Zoran Laković, UEFA’s
national associations director, Mr Čeferin
visited the FSS’s national sports centre
with FFS president Slaviša Kokeza and
honorary FSS president Tomislav Karadžić.
“This is an important day for Serbian
football. Many thanks to Mr Čeferin for
taking the time to visit our association.
We have talked about the development
of football in Serbia and I think we have
managed to agree on many great things.
The FSS and UEFA have an excellent
relationship of cooperation,” said Mr
Kokeza during the visit.
Mr Čeferin also voiced his satisfaction,
saying in excellent Serbian: “I’m pleased
to be here. The FSS has always supported
me, even when I was a long way from
being elected UEFA president.”
Mr Čeferin then addressed specific
problems facing Serbian football.
UEFA DIRECT • May 2017 – 47
including potential play-offs and the final
tournament in Italy in 2019.”
“Pavel Hapal was the only candidate
for us,” said SFZ president Ján Kováčik.
“He did an outstanding job in his first
two years in charge. His team qualified
for the European Under-21 Championship
finals as qualifying group winners,
played spectacular football and gained
recognition from the experts. But what
we appreciate most is the way the players
under coach Hapal approached the
Slovakian football family. They showed
character, heart, passion and pride.
And there lies the answer as to why
we have not considered any other
candidates for this role for the
upcoming qualifying campaign.”
The Slovenia national team had
just finished a training session
in Glasgow on the eve of their
recent European Qualifiers match against
Scotland, when their coach, Srečko
Katanec, asked the players to wait on
the pitch, as a few fans wanted to come
and say hello. The players were delighted
to discover that those ‘fans’ were none
other than their parents and other close
family members.
This initiative, which was organised
jointly by national team sponsor Petrol
and the Football Association of Slovenia
(NZS), brought 30 parents from Slovenia
to Scotland in complete secrecy with
one sole aim – to surprise their children
and give them an extra boost of energy
and motivation ahead of that important
match. Months of coordination and
organisation went into that one moment
of surprise, with many of those parents
48 – UEFA DIRECT • May 2017
Pavel Hapal (left) and Ján Kováčik.
never having seen their children play
away from home for the national team.
Petrol, which began its association
with the NZS last year, had been looking
for an answer to the question ‘Who
gives you energy?’, searching for the
driving force behind the players, from
the first time they stepped onto a
football pitch and until now, as members
of the Slovenia national team. This
surprise visit was, in a sense, the answer
to that question, for those parents and
family members have been right behind
those players every step of the way,
cheering their every success over the
years and all their commitment, hard
work and persistence.
The players were entirely unaware
that their nearest and dearest would
be coming to see them until the moment
they appeared on the pitch. The energy
that flowed from that surprise visit was
the kind that gives fresh impetus,
stokes passions and strengthens the
desire for victory.
That clandestine operation, which
was revealed to only a handful of
people (including the head coach),
is set to be depicted in a short film,
which will follow those parents all
the way from Slovenia to Scotland,
showing their arrival at the training
session and their emotions during
the game.
The NZS has also released this video
of the surprise visit:
The Slovak Football Association
(SFZ) is pleased to announce that
Under-21 coach Pavel Hapal will
continue to lead the team through their
next European qualifying campaign.
“Pavel Hapal had signed a contract
for the 2015–17 qualifying competition,
with a clause extending the contract
until the end of the European Under-21
Championship in Poland [if the team
qualified],” the general secretary of
the SFZ, Jozef Kliment, explained.
“We presented our interest in further
extending our cooperation in autumn
last year. Both sides agreed they wanted
to achieve further goals together, so
we signed a new contract as from 1
January 2017 for the 2017–19 qualifiers,
Word about Hapal’s great work with the
Under-21 team spread quickly. Rumours
suggested potential interest from Czech
clubs AC Sparta Praha, SK Slavia Praha
and FK Viktoria Plzeň, as well as Polish
top-flight clubs. But Hapal set the record
straight: “The Slovakia Under-21 team
remains my priority. There was no time
or reason to think about changing jobs.”
However, he also said in an interview
for a Czech newspaper: “I do not want
to forget the daily work of a coach at
club level. One day I would like to take
a coaching role at a club and I believe
I will be able to make the decision on
the right place in due time.”
that everyone is welcome,” says SvFF
general secretary Håkan Sjöstrand.
Swedish football will now promote
seven different brands: the SvFF, the
Swedish Cup, futsal, development
and education, the supporters’ club,
the women’s national teams and the
men’s national teams. The SvFF badge
will continue to be used as part of the
national association brand.
“We needed to make our brands
and propositions to the market a lot
clearer. This rebranding will make it
easier for us to engage fans and to
highlight our community work,”
says Sjöstrand.
Since the early 1970s, the Swedish
national teams have played in
shirts bearing the hallmark of the
Swedish Football Association (SvFF) –
the SvFF badge. But not any more. As
part of a major rebranding project, the
badges on all national team shirts will
now read ‘SVERIGE’ (Sweden) instead.
“When you play for Sweden you
represent your whole country, simple as
that. It’s not just about the FA. Football
is the national sport of Sweden, and
we want to be inclusive to everyone.
We want our brand to be about
community, joy, diversity and
friendship and, above all, to say
Every year, around 45,000 people injure
themselves on Switzerland’s football
pitches, running up costs totalling 170
million Swiss francs. In response, SUVA
has established an accident prevention
programme aimed specifically at reducing
the number of football-related accidents
and promoting safe play. Its Safety at
Community Tournaments initiative has
led to a marked reduction in the risk of
injury, with SUVA and tournament
organisers working together to improve
Football is constantly evolving.
The game is becoming faster,
more dynamic, more popular
and more competitive – all positive factors
which are helping to make football even
more attractive at all levels. Unfortunately,
however, that increased dynamism has
brought with it an increase in the risk of
injury, which explains why the Swiss
national accident insurance fund (SUVA)
has spent years working with the Swiss
Football Association to prevent accidents.
safety. Indeed, the number of injuries at
SUVA-supported tournaments has fallen
significantly in the last few years. SUVA
provides organisers of community and
corporate tournaments with equipment,
access to qualified referees and financial
support. A SUVA-commissioned study
on accidents in Swiss football shows that
70% of all football injuries occur in the
context of formal club football (50%
during matches; 20% during training),
with large numbers of accidents being
caused by foul play. Knee injuries tend to
be the main issue in this regard, resulting
in long lay-offs and considerable costs.
A number of years ago, SUVA and the
Swiss Football Association established
the Fair Play Trophy. Every year, the
country’s fairest football clubs are
honoured and acknowledged, and since
2016 the winners of the trophy have
had an automatic place in Switzerland’s
national cup competition. Thus, amateur
footballers now have a chance of playing
against professional sides from the Swiss
Super League, which is an incentive for
all clubs to make a real commitment to
fair play.
UEFA DIRECT • May 2017 – 49
On 2 March, the Turkish Football
Federation (TFF) hosted the
final draw for the 2016/17 UEFA
Regions’ Cup, which will be played in
Istanbul from 1 to 9 July.
Together with representatives of the
eight associations whose teams have
qualified for the finals, the draw was
attended by Ali Düşmez, TFF executive
board member and amateur board
chairman, Turkey Amateur Sports Clubs
Confederation president and tournament
ambassador; Şükrü Genç, the mayor of
Sariyer; Gürsoy Osman Bilgin, the district
governor of Sariyer; Maliki Ejder Batur,
the deputy mayor of Umraniye; and other
selected guests and TFF officials.
The 2016/17 UEFA Regions’ Cup finals,
sponsored by Turkcell, will be played at
the Hasan Doğan national teams’ camp
and training facilities, Umraniye stadium
and Yusuf Ziya Öniş stadium. The groups
are as follows:
Group A: Istanbul (Turkey), Ingulec (Ukraine), Zagreb (Croatia) and Lisboa (Portugal)
Group B: Castilla y León (Spain), Olomouc (Czech Republic), Region 2 (Republic of Ireland) and South Region (Russia)
In other news, Arçelik is to be one of
the main sponsors of the Turkish national
teams. The signing ceremony for this
important new partnership took place
at the Antalya Regnum Carya Golf &
Spa Resort on 22 March. The ceremony
was attended by TFF president Yıldırım
Demirören, TFF vice-president Ali Dürüst,
TFF executive board members Cengiz
Zülfikaroğlu, Mustafa Çağlar and Alaattin
Aykaç, Turkish football director Fatih
Terim, TFF general secretary Kadir Kardaş,
Koç Holding vice-chairman Ali Koç, Koç
Holding durable consumption group
chairman Fatih Kemal Ebiçlioğlu, Arçelik
Turkey general manager Can Dinçer and
players from the national A team.
The Ukrainian national teams in
all age categories will soon have
a new look after the Football
Federation of Ukraine (FFU) signed
a four-year deal with sports clothing
manufacturer Joma. The Spanish
company will also give the FFU 72,000
balls to help develop youth football in
Ukraine over the four-year period.
“Having a unique design for our
national team kits before the start of the
FIFA and UEFA qualifying campaigns, the
social component of the contract and
future joint projects – these are the main
reasons why we have chosen Joma as our
new technical sponsor,” FFU president
Andriy Pavelko said.
Jose Manuel Lopez, managing
director of Joma, a brand that has been
successfully rolled out in 105 countries
around the world, hopes that its
50 – UEFA DIRECT • May 2017
technologies and innovations will help
the Ukrainian national teams to achieve
good results.
On signing the deal, Mr Lopez
presented Mr Pavelko with a new-look
No12 shirt, and the senior men’s
team, coached by Andriy Shevchenko,
showcased the new kit in their
European Qualifiers match against
Croatia in Zagreb.
Andreas Morisbak (Norway, 19 May)
Jozef Marko (Slovakia, 19 May)
Bent Clausen (Denmark, 1 May)
Gaetano De Gabriele (Malta, 19 May)
Peter Mikkelsen (Denmark, 1 May)
Milovan Djukanović (Montenegro, 19 May)
Vasko Dojčinovski (FYR Macedonia, 1 May)
Rune Pedersen (Norway, 19 May)
Alexey Smertin (Russia, 5 May)
Raimondas Statkevičius
Anton Fagan (Scotland, 2 May)
(Lithuania, 19 May) 50th
Vladimir Medved (Slovakia, 3 May)
Michał Listkiewicz (Poland, 20 May)
Olivier Chovaux (France, 3 May)
Sandra Renon (France, 20 May) 40th
Haim Jakov (Israel, 3 May)
Neli Lozeva (Bulgaria, 20 May)
Ronen Hershco (Israel, 3 May)
Ewa Gajewska (Poland, 21 May)
Anghel Iordanescu (Romania, 4 May)
Nicolai Cebotari (Moldova, 21 May)
Borislav Aleksandrov (Bulgaria, 4 May) 30th
Costas Kapitanis (Cyprus, 21 May)
Peter Gilliéron (Switzerland, 5 May)
Theo van Seggelen (Netherlands, 22 May)
Christian Welander (Sweden, 5 May)
Karl Dhont (Belgium, 22 May)
Costakis Koutsokoumnis (Cyprus, 5 May)
Goran Mihaljević (Montenegro, 5 May)
Ken Ridden (England, 6 May)
Gudmundur Petursson (Iceland, 6 May)
Karl-Erik Nilsson (Sweden, 6 May) 60th
Charles Flint (England, 7 May)
Pekka Luhtanen (Finland, 8 May)
Michel Pralong (Switzerland, 8 May)
Marc Dobbeleir (Belgium, 8 May)
Miroslav Tulinger (Czech Republic, 8 May)
Dan Vo Quang (France, 8 May)
Magnus Forssblad (Sweden, 10 May)
Yuri Baskakov (Russia, 10 May)
Jean-Marie Gantenbein
Christian Hockenjos (Germany, 23 May)
Packie Bonner (Republic of Ireland, 24 May)
Ainar Leppänen (Estonia, 24 May)
Teresa Romao (Portugal, 24 May)
Andrzej Zareba (Poland, 24 May)
Semen Andreev (Russia, 25 May)
Marco Tura (San Marino, 26 May)
Evgeni Giner (Russia, 26 May)
Nikoloz Jgarkava (Georgia, 26 May)
Peter Lawwell (Scotland, 27 May)
Jim Stjerne Hansen (Denmark, 28 May)
Timo Huttunen (Finland, 11 May)
Jacques Antenen (Switzerland, 29 May)
Volodymyr Geninson (Ukraine, 12 May)
Jozef Kliment (Slovakia, 29 May)
Gaston Schreurs (Belgium, 13 May)
Donel Conway (Republic of Ireland, 31 May)
Henrik Ravnild (Denmark, 13 May)
István Huszár (Hungary, 31 May)
Carlos Manuel Ferreira Matos
Arnaldo Cunha (Portugal, 31 May)
(Portugal, 14 May)
Mads Øland (Denmark, 31 May)
Maria Luisa Villa Gútierrez (Spain, 14 May)
Nikolay Levnikov (Russia, 15 May)
Sotirios Sinnis (Greece, 15 May)
Luis Cuervas Del Real (Spain, 15 May)
Kadri Jägel (Estonia, 17 May)
Lars Appelqvist (Sweden, 18 May) 90th
Tamara Chichinadze (Georgia, 18 May)
• Aivar Pohlak was re-elected as president
of the Estonian Football Association on
28 March.
• Hugo Quaderer was re-elected as
president of the Liechtenstein Football
Association on 30 March.
• Fuad Krvavac (Bosnia and
Herzegovina) passed away on 30
March. For many years he was the
faithful correspondent of his national
association for UEFA Direct, keeping
readers up to date with the association’s
activities and its teams’ performances.
2/3 May
UEFA Champions League: semi-finals
(first legs)
2–14 May, Czech Republic
European Women’s Under-17 Championship:
final tournament
3–19 May, Croatia
European Under-17 Championship:
final tournament
4 May
UEFA Europa League: semi-finals
(first legs)
9/10 May
UEFA Champions League: semi-finals
(return legs)
11 May, Bahrain
FIFA Congress
11 May
UEFA Europa League: semi-finals
(return legs)
18 May, Nyon
Stadium and Security Committee
20 May–11 June, South Korea
U-20 World Cup
30 May, Nyon
Medical Committee
24 May, Stockholm
UEFA Europa League: final
Egon Franck (Germany, 16 May)
Svein Johannessen (Norway, 17 May)
• Karl-Erik Nilsson was re-elected as
president of the Swedish Football
Association on 25 March.
Ivančica Sudac (Croatia, 25 May)
Jean-Pierre Escalettes (France, 29 May)
Evzen Amler (Czech Republic, 15 May)
• Noël Le Graët was re-elected as
president of the French Football
Federation on 18 March.
Hans Cooman (Belgium, 25 May)
(Luxembourg, 11 May)
Hans-Jörg Eissmann (Germany, 15 May)
UEFA DIRECT • May 2017 – 51
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