UEFA"direct #173 (01.12.2017)

UEFA"direct #173 (01.12.2017)
No. 173
Grassroots football takes centre stage throughout Europe
The story of Jane, a young
wheelchair footballer
UEFA vice-president
Fernando Gomes
Mircea Lucescu’s coaching
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02 – UEFA DIRECT • December 2017
he strength of football lies in its grassroots.
These are the opening words of this
month’s cover story, and for me, they
perfectly sum up our position on the importance
of the grassroots game. Judging by our member
associations’ fantastic participation in the annual
UEFA Grassroots Week, I am delighted to say that
a great many people seem to agree. From 23 to
30 September, we invited the European football
community to get creative and inspire others to
get involved by demonstrating the full range and
breadth of our beautiful game.
The response was phenomenal – a celebration
of the sport for all, regardless of age, gender,
ability or beliefs. From projects for grandmothers
in Lithuania and prisoners in Spain to street
football in Ukraine and a programme for children
with health problems in Greece, it truly was a
display of football at its most vibrant, diverse
and inspiring. All these activities were among the
highlights of the year, and served to remind us of
just how important it is to continue championing
the grassroots game.
Speaking of championing, we recently handed
out our annual UEFA Grassroots Awards. These
awards may not get the same publicity as, for
example, the UEFA Player of the Year, but in terms
of the bigger picture of European football, they
are just as important. Every Cristiano Ronaldo or
Lieke Martens has to start somewhere, and it is
the people at the beginning of that journey who
inspire us to take part, nurture our love of the
game and encourage us to try our best. This year’s
winners were, as always, shining examples of the
kind of people and ideas that make you proud to
work in football.
I would like to close by congratulating and
thanking everyone who helped make the 2017
UEFA Grassroots Week such a triumph and all
those people who have such love for the amateur
game. Let us keep nurturing, strengthening and
investing in this key side of football, as that is
what will ensure the continued success of the
game across our continent.
Theodore Theodoridis
UEFA General Secretary
UEFA DIRECT • December 2017 – 03
Getty Images
Official publication of
the Union of European
Football Associations
Deputy chief editor:
Dominique Maurer
Chief editor:
Emmanuel Deconche
Chief writer:
Mark Chaplin
External contributors:
Laure James (page 6)
Michael Tsapidis (page 6 - Greek part)
Fare network (page 14)
Borgonovo Foundation (page 24)
Johannes L. Tol (page 26)
UEFA Language Services
Artgraphic Cavin,
CH-1422 Grandson
Editorial deadline:
10 November 2017
Cover photo:
Hervé Galand/FFF
04 – UEFA DIRECT • December 2017
6 Grassroots Week
25 Financial fair play
Grassroots football in all its different guises takes centre stage across Europe.
UEFA’s 55 member associations come together for a workshop in Montenegro.
14 Social responsibility
26 Research Grant Programme
UEFA promotes the Fare Football People action weeks in support of inclusion
and diversity.
For nine-year-old Jane, who uses a wheelchair, football is much more
than a game.
24 Luís Figo
The Portuguese legend joins UEFA
as a football ambassador.
A UEFA-supported project tests a new approach to analysing hamstring injuries.
27 A healthy heart your goal
Raising awareness of cardiovascular disease at Women’s EURO 2017.
28 Fernando Gomes
UEFA’s Portuguese vice-president shares his vision of European football.
35 Coach education
Ryu Voelkel/Fare network
Getty Images
The latest UEFA Coach Education Conference points the way forward.
36 For the record
All the goals from Women’s EURO 2017.
38 The Technician
Mircea Lucescu talks to UEFA Direct.
44 News from member
UEFA DIRECT • December 2017 – 05
Lithuania’s You’re Never Too
Old initiative proves a big hit.
The strength of football lies in its grassroots. This year’s UEFA Grassroots Week, held
from 23 to 30 September, helped give thousands of people of all ages, genders and
social backgrounds opportunities to get involved in the world’s number one sport, with many
discovering football for the very first time or returning after a lengthy spell away from the pitch.
n conjunction with the European
Commission’s European Week of
Sport, UEFA asked its member
associations to facilitate, encourage
and inspire participation in all forms
of football to celebrate the grassroots
game in Europe.
Football is a lifelong passion for so many
people throughout Europe, and this love
affair often begins at an early age. With
that in mind, the Royal Belgian Football
Federation used UEFA Grassroots Week
06 – UEFA DIRECT • December 2017
as an opportunity to inspire children under
six to develop their football skills. With
the support of clubs and local schools,
Festifoot events were organised
throughout the country. They proved
to be both fun and entertaining for the
children involved, and a great way to
publicise opportunities for children to
play football in their local areas.
The Belgian FA’s grassroots manager,
Jonas Heuts, was delighted with how
well the Festifoot initiative was received.
“Festifoot challenges are designed to help
develop the motor skills of young children
by allowing them to run, jump, climb,
push, pull, turn, stop, accelerate, dribble,
throw … while introducing them to ball
control and striking,” he said. “Festifoot
was also an opportunity to introduce
children to the values of respect and fair
play, from their first steps in football to
the implementation of a fair play protocol
before and after the activities.”
Festifoot gave hundreds of young
children a first taste of football. “We now
hope that these young girls and boys will
join the wider football family through
our clubs,” Heuts added.
Having a ball at your feet brings a smile
to your face – a simple idea but one
that clearly resonated with the 500
children aged 6 to 16 who took part
in UEFA Grassroots Week activities
throughout Greece.
In Athens, boys and girls represented
by the charity The Smile of the Child,
which supports children who have suffered
violence, have long-term health problems
or are living in poverty, came together at
the Hellenic Football Federation’s national
training centre to take part in games,
quizzes and other football-related activities.
National team head coach Kostas Tsanas,
together with performance coach Grigoris
Bizas and goalkeeper of the Under-21
national team Lefteris Astras, was on
hand to offer the children tips and
encouragement. Afterwards, one young
participant, Maria, declared her newfound
love for the game. “I have no words to
describe the excitement I felt,” she said.
“I was running everywhere all the time.
Playing with a ball was fun for me.”
Elsewhere in Greece, the Hellenic
Football Federation teamed up with
a refugee accommodation centre in
Andravida, using football to support
its continued efforts to integrate refugee
children aged between 6 and 12 in
the area.
UEFA Grassroots Week was also celebrated
in Florina, a border area of Greece,
where 80 children from local schools and
football academies were welcomed to the
municipal sports centre for speeches from
coaches and veteran players. An event on
the Greek island of Zakynthos, which
was recently affected by fires, brought
together 150 young players and a girls’
football event in Thessaloniki proved
equally popular.
Imagine if players were responsible for
refereeing their own match. That is just
what the Lithuanian Football Federation
(LFF) decided to do during UEFA
Grassroots Week, when mixed teams of
boys and girls were invited to make their
own calls in a friendly tournament.
The Hellenic Football Federation
teamed up with a centre for child
refugees in Andravida.
Gibraltar’s showpiece event during UEFA
Grassroots Week was a fun day welcoming
over 230 children from around the capital
to the Victoria Stadium for an event
packed with football-themed activities.
In the spirit of making football fully
accessible to all, it was not just an
opportunity for 11-a-side matches – smallsided games, mini-tournaments, futsal for
Under-12s and Under-14s, table football
and girls’ and women’s football matches
were also on the programme, while the
Gibraltar Special Olympics team played
an exhibition match against Gibraltar’s
Under-16 national team.
It was the culmination of a nationwide
programme of events, including walking
and veterans football. The Gibraltar FA’s
grassroots manager, Leslie Asquez,
believes the hard work paid off and is
already thinking about ways to make next
year’s week another to remember. “I am
extremely delighted at the way the UEFA
Grassroots Week turned out,” he said.
“Seeing the children come down to our
Sunday Funday and watching as they had
fun learning about the beautiful game, as
well as learning basic football skills, makes
it all worthwhile. At all of the events we
put on, the enjoyment factor was great
to see, from the youngsters to the older
generations who were taking part in
walking football. “They haven’t lost their
love of the game, and it’s amazing to see
them with a platform to enjoy playing
football regularly with the development of
walking football. Now the work starts to
plan next year’s events, which we hope
will be bigger and better.”
The association’s Play Without Pressure
motto was a common theme, encouraging
young children to play, whether for the
first time or as regulars on the pitch,
for the enjoyment and without the weight
of expectation.
UEFA DIRECT • December 2017 – 07
Shining the spotlight on fair play and
respect, the young players were also
invited after their matches to share their
thoughts on how to get the most out
of football.
Lithuania’s week of grassroots
activities brought people of all ages
onto the pitch, with two projects in
particular keeping young and older
players in mind. Kindergarten football
offered children of kindergarten age
the opportunity to enjoy five-a-side
matches with their teachers, while the
You’re Never Too Old initiative championed
the cause of ‘grandmothers for grassroots’.
The children’s event in Vilnius was
supported by the local women’s football
club, with prizes and gifts for over 200
participants, while in Marijampolė, You’re
Never Too Old welcomed around 30
women, many of whom were giving
football a go for the very first time. The
eldest participant was 81 years young.
“This was the second time we had
delivered this project, so some players had
done it before, but this time they brought
their friends, who had never played
before,” said Greta Guižauskaitė, the LFF’s
grassroots manager.
“Our grandmothers said they wanted
to spread the message that football is
the perfect way to spend your leisure
time, and that there’s no age limit for
having fun.”
Trophies galore were up for grabs during
UEFA Grassroots Week in Norway, where
a new league for small-sided games was
also launched. Meanwhile, grassroots
tournaments and activities were organised
throughout the country with a view to
getting more children involved in the
With the support of the Football
Association of Norway’s regional
association in Oslo, the capital city
celebrated the launch of the OBOS
mini-league, following its successful pilot
at Ready 1907 football club, which went
on to host cup tournaments in November,
demonstrating how UEFA Grassroots
Week has helped to create a legacy of
small-sided games for boys and girls.
Catherine Stensaker and Mia Stoknes
of Ready 1907’s event committee were
hugely encouraged by the uptake. “It was
great to see so many happy and interested
children come to Ready’s facilities on a
chilly Sunday – from clubs on both sides
of our city. This is clearly a popular activity
among our younger players, but also
among everyone at the clubs involved,”
Stoknes said.
Stensaker agreed: “We are delighted
that Ready will be able to use football
equipment from the Football Association
of Norway’s regional association in Oslo.
The club will be able to borrow up to 16
new portable pitches to organise three-aside OBOS mini-league matches for girls
and boys aged six and seven.”
Accessibility was given centre stage in
Romania during UEFA Grassroots Week,
as the Romanian Football Federation (FRF)
teamed up with charitable organisations
to bring football to children and young
people with disabilities.
In association with the Down Plus
Hervé Galand, FFF
French footballing legend David Trezeguet
joined in the UEFA Grassroots Week
celebrations in Marseille on 30 September,
and was moved by seeing so many young
players united by the game. The 1998
World Cup and EURO 2000 winner was
among the guests invited to the
inauguration of a synthetic maxi-pitch
donated by UEFA to the French city and
2017 European Capital of Sport. UEFA’s
Grassroots Week is aligned with the
European Week of Sport – an initiative
set up by the European Commission
and aimed at promoting sport and
physical activity across Europe via its
#BeActive campaign.
More than 200 children aged between
7 and 11 from two different schools in
Marseille’s 12th district attended Sévan
stadium for the inauguration of the new
facility, which was financed through a
€100,000 donation by UEFA. Sévan
stadium is home to UGA Ardziv, a club
founded in 1924 and made up of 17
teams that are all set to benefit from
the investment.
‘Now is their time’
“I’m really moved by these kids,” said
former Juventus and Monaco forward
Trezeguet. “They enjoy being on this
pitch – they play together and have fun.
Football can be really strong. It unites
people from very different cultural
backgrounds as well.” Watching the
children, he added: “Now is their time
to play. They are the future.”
The boys and girls played ageappropriate small-sided matches and
took part in skills challenges and
educational games featuring the Laws
of the Game. The event was organised
by UEFA, the French Football Federation,
the Mediterranean regional league, the
district of Provence and the French
education ministry.
Keeping the love alive
Investments in grassroots initiatives are
essential to efforts to boost participation.
Football helps to bring people together
and teach important life values, and
Young children took centre stage in Norway.
and Help Autism associations, football
tournaments were rolled out for 50
children with Down’s syndrome and
autism, with all of them receiving
medals afterwards.
Elsewhere, the FRF’s junior grassroots
cup welcomed 180 children aged between
seven and ten, who competed over four
days in mixed boys’ and girls’ teams, while
the grassroots league in Timisoara hosted
700 eager young players aged from just
five, who stayed until the sun went down.
It was not just children who got involved.
everyone should be able to benefit.
With dropout rates across Europe
increasing at youth level, UEFA believes
that it is crucial to continue to invest in
grassroots football and ensure that it is
open and accessible to all.
Grassroots football and solidarity is
one of UEFA’s 11 values. The strength
of football lies in its grassroots, without
which there can be no elite game.
With this in mind, UEFA usually donates
three maxi-pitches a year – one to the
European Capital of Sport and one
to each of the cities that host the
Champions League and Europa
League finals.
The administrative director of
the Mediterranean regional league,
Raphaël Boutin, emphasised the
importance of investing in grassroots
football: “We need facilities to keep
grassroots football alive, especially in
a city like Marseille, a football city
with an increasing number of
registered players.”
An adults’ amateur tournament attracted
200 players along to Bucharest, while
grassroots investment in Romania can
also be found in the Football and
Femininity campaign for boosting female
participation, primary school football and
beach soccer.
Meanwhile, if jumpers can be goalposts,
then any street can become a stadium.
That was the FRF’s mantra as it took
the opportunity to develop ‘Transformă
ulița în stadion’ (Turn the street into a
stadium), a project helping over 1,000
children in both rural and urban areas
to play football. It is part of the wider
‘Performanța are viitor’ (Performance has a
future) project, which gives young players
aged between 10 and 14 the chance to
earn places at development centres and
show their skills in mini-tournaments.
From the Borders to the Shetland Islands,
football is a way of life for a huge part of
the Scottish population, and grassroots
football is essential in offering enthusiastic
players of all ages and abilities, or in
remote areas, a regular chance to have a
ball at their feet.
Having established a flourishing
grassroots programme nationwide, the
Scottish Football Association is now
working to craft a legacy from UEFA
Grassroots Week. Football chiefs took
the opportunity to launch a new brand
for their grassroots division, presenting
Football For Life, part of a new four-year
strategy to boost involvement. Beyond
growing the game, Football for Life
encourages lifelong participation – not
only increasing numbers but ensuring that
once players take up football, they stay
with it for life.
Scotland international Leanne Ross
got involved and met some of the
primary school girls taking part in
Clackmannanshire’s festival, just one of
dozens of events held over the seven days.
“Some of these girls may not have known
they’d have an opportunity to play at high
school, so it’s really great to encourage
them now,” Ross said. “Grassroots football
is hugely important; if you don’t have
grassroots, you don’t have any other
games, so we need to try to encourage
as many girls and boys as we can to
get involved by giving them quality
opportunities to play the game.”
These days, Scots are spoilt for choice.
There are a vast number of footballing
opportunities already on offer across
the country, from walking football and
over-35s games, to futsal, deaf, blind and
‘frames’ football, for those unable to play
mainstream games.
Social media engagement played a big
part in Scotland during Grassroots Week,
with almost 700,000 impressions on
Twitter alone and 3,940 photos given
a ‘thumbs up’ in a show of support for
the extensive national grassroots network.
The Football Association of Serbia (FSS)
joined forces with the country’s regional
football associations to hold a variety of
events, focusing in particular on boosting
participation among children, including
those with special learning needs and
physical and sensory disabilities.
Clubs and schools in each regional
area worked with league administrators
in Belgrade to give children with special
needs the opportunity to enjoy a football
festival, welcoming over 150 children to
a rather unique location for football: Ada
Ciganlija, an artificial island built on the
Sava river.
There were plenty of other opportunities
to play football during UEFA Grassroots
Week. The Vojvodina regional association
marked the annual celebration with a
UEFA DIRECT • December 2017 – 09
Thousands of players from across
Spain got involved in the country’s
biggest involvement to date in UEFA
Grassroots Week.
With an emphasis on improving access
to football for everyone, prisoners from
Logroño prison were given a chance
to compete in a special integration
tournament, followed by a presentation
on managing adversity in coaching given
by Spanish Football Federation (RFEF)
coach Juan Carlos Luque.
Participants commented on how
the activities had given them hope,
one describing it as “a transformational
experience”. “We are very grateful to
UEFA and the RFEF for taking the initiative
to organise these types of activity,” said
Vicente Pérez Corral, the prison’s director.
“They are extremely useful for us and for
our prisoners. Football is a perfect way to
develop skills useful in the workplace
and for reintegration into society.”
Meanwhile, another tournament in
Logroño gave women and veterans
from around the world a chance to
compete with one another, with teams
representing three continents. “It’s very
hard for us to find tournaments to
compete in so we didn’t want to miss
this opportunity,” said Javier Roca
from Deporte sin Barreras (Sport
without Barriers).
If the dipping temperatures in autumn
were enough to send a chill through some
Spaniards, indoor football was a great
opportunity to get active and received
day dedicated to schools football,
encouraging around 300 boys and girls to
get involved and catering for all abilities
and access needs.
Western Serbia played host to a special
day giving young girls and children with
special learning needs a chance to get out
onto a pitch, with a fully accessible
tournament and girls’ league held in
Čačak. Played on the artificial turf at FK
Borac Čačak’s facilities, the event was
attended by around 200 children.
Over in the east of the country,
around 500 boys and girls participated
in an all-day event in Niš, at the city’s
main sports centre. This year’s Grassroots
Week also helped to publicise the ongoing
programme My School - My Club, which
encourages schools in Serbia to establish
clubs and encourage them to play in
regional leagues, thus developing a love of
football in children and enabling them to
be part of a team from a young age.
While the regional associations
managed the delivery of projects, the FSS
ploughed resources into promoting events
and providing equipment.
a publicity boost during UEFA Grassroots
Week. A five-a-side tournament was also
held with youth and women’s categories.
Coach education was another key
theme throughout the country. Sports
and leadership conferences were held in
schools, designed to inspire grassroots
coaches with stories of how access to
sport had changed lives.
Former Ukraine stars were among the
thousands of people who turned out to
support UEFA Grassroots Week in what
was one the biggest events of its kind in
the country. Former internationals Oleh
Protasov and Ivan Iaremchuk attended the
opening ceremony in the Obolon district
of Kiev, where an enormous movable
pitch was installed for street football.
The Ukrainian Football Federation (FFU)
ensured that every region was involved
in the showpiece week through its 26
regional associations, whether in urban
or rural areas.
Events had been promoted at top-level
games to raise awareness, while five-day
festivals were held in schools across the
country for groups of children who had
previously experienced a lower level of
access to football and other leisure
activities. Half of these were children of
soldiers and military workers, alongside
others who had been displaced internally,
while a third were girls and many more
were children with special needs and
social vulnerabilities. All were given
an opportunity to make new friends,
strengthen social connections and
indulge in their love of football.
Olympic pole vault gold medallist Serhii
Bubka wowed the young participants
at the opening ceremomy by giving
masterclasses in fitness, attended by
Ukraine’s minister for youth and sport,
Ihor Zhdanov.
The closing ceremony was held at
the FFU technical centre and included a
champions festival combining football
competitions, masterclasses, contests and
interactive games. Former Dynamo Kyiv
striker Oleh Protasov and defender
Anatoliy Demyanenko presented each
young player with a commemorative ball,
champion’s medal and UEFA Grassroots
Week participation certificate.
Football for all in Spain
Northern Ireland, Italy and Armenia won gold in the 2017 UEFA Grassroots Day Awards, which honour the best clubs,
projects and leaders in Europe for the excellence of their work in this crucial sector of the game.
The nominations for the awards in the
categories of Best Grassroots Club,
Best Grassroots Project and Best
Grassroots Leader – as proposed by the
bureau of the UEFA Grassroots Panel
and the UEFA Development and Technical
Assistance Committee – were endorsed by
the Executive Committee at its meeting of
20 September.
The awards reward excellence in the
grassroots field – seen by UEFA as crucial
in helping to nurture football’s overall
good health.
“Grassroots is football’s lifeblood
because without healthy foundations,
our sport cannot flourish,” said the UEFA
president, Aleksander Čeferin. “UEFA
has always invested heavily in grassroots
projects around Europe, and will continue
to do so to ensure that football can be
played by all.”
“I would like to thank all those who
have worked tirelessly to make sure that
people of all abilities can play this game at
grassroots level. Thanks to their dedication,
loyalty, sacrifice and love for the game, the
sport’s future is in safe hands,” he added.
St Oliver Plunkett (Northern Ireland)
St Oliver Plunkett, a youth-focused club,
has been recognised for helping hundreds
of children in Belfast to make lasting
connections through football, reinforcing
the principle that some of the strongest
friendships are forged across frontiers.
Credited with changing lives in the
greater Belfast area, St Oliver Plunkett
has given over 500 boys and girls from
different backgrounds the opportunity
to play football together, not only
promoting respect and fair play on the
pitch, but helping young people to make
lasting social connections in neighbouring
“As far as we’re concerned, everybody’s
welcome through that door,” explained
the club secretary, Neil McKee. “We just
want to get our message out that it
doesn’t matter what ability you have, it
doesn’t matter what box somebody wants
to put you in, you’re more than welcome
at our club. The young people take great
pride in the jersey and they’re proud
putting it on every single week. It’s not just
about the football. There’s that sense of
belonging, the pride in the jersey, the
camaraderie, the teamwork. Everything
comes together and strengthens those
bonds. I’ve known a lot of the coaches at
the club since primary school; we’ve been
friends for life. And it’s vitally important
that we offer those opportunities for
the young people of today.”
One of those young players, Emel
Melville, told UEFA how the club has
FV Blau-Weiss Gonnesweiler e. V. (Germany)
FV Blau-Weiss earned silver for its growing commitment to helping
refugees to integrate into the community. Already giving hundreds of
members a chance to play regular games, in 2014 the club turned its
attention to helping refugees off the pitch, developing first-aid
programmes and language courses and offering tailored assistance, in
particular to Arabic-speaking women. “We never expected [to win silver];
we were just speechless,” said the club’s chairman, Stefan Kunz. “For us,
this is very ‘pure’ recognition, which is not associated with prize money.
It’s recognition of what we do – helping the people who come to us.”
benefitted him since he started
playing there: “The coaches, they all
teach you loads of lessons that you’ll
carry throughout your life. They
taught me respect. Although I have
learned respect in my home, they
taught me how to respect; it’s just a
different kind of respect – respect for
your coaches and team-mates – and
they’ve also taught me how to work
as a unit, and they give you some
The Irish Football Association also
hosts its own grassroots awards,
championed by former Northern
Ireland and Arsenal goalkeeper Pat
Jennings and designed to recognise
excellence throughout the province.
FK Breznica Pljevlja
Founded in 2013, FK Breznica Pljevlja now
has 300 members, including 100 girls and
veterans. The Montenegro club has six
UEFA-licensed coaches and uses sport to foster
a spirit of community and to promote healthy
lifestyles. The club also organises an annual
international girls’ tournament and participates
in humanitarian work.
UEFA DIRECT • December 2017 – 11
Incorporating learning with having fun
has been a hallmark of innovative teaching
for years when it comes to keeping
young children entertained. So, when a
programme combining classroom time
with football was developed in Italy, tens
of thousands got on board.
The GiocoCalciando project combines
e-learning and practical football sessions
in primary schools throughout Italy, with
over 32,000 students and 2,400 teachers
taking part. Developed by the youth sector
of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC)
and Italy’s ministry of education, it has
now set a gold-winning standard for
school engagement in Europe.
“The idea was to provide teachers with
a simple tool with which to teach football
and convey certain educational messages,”
explained the head of the FIGC’s youth
and educational department, Vito Di
Gioia. “GiocoCalciando is a multimedia
guide which is split into four levels.
At every level there is a multimedia
educational part, there’s a quiz with
questions and answers, and there’s a video
section which allows us to familiarise the
children with the exercises developed by
our coaches. The e-learning part is very
important, as the kids learn the rules of
football by playing an interactive game.
Fair play is crucial, as the Laws of the
Game not only apply to football but also
in everyday life. That’s something which
is stressed repeatedly in the interactive
game. It’s the real aim of the game.”
GiocoCalciando (Italy)
As well as these elements taught by
teachers in a classroom setting, the
children also get the opportunity to follow
up what they have learned with a practical
session. “Our grassroots experts come to
schools at least four times a year to explain
the project,” Di Gioia added, “then they
must also train the teachers to run the
project over the course of the year.”
Reacting to the award, the head of the
FIGC’s youth sector, Vito Roberto Tisci,
said: “It’s such a big recognition and,
of course, it’s a source of great pride
for the association and me personally,
having run this department for the
last two-and-a-half years.
“It’s the first time our football
association has won this award.
Besides the honour in itself, I’d like to
stress the great results this project has
achieved, which are very important
to us.”
Kannusta Mua (Finland)
Grandmas for Football (Lithuania)
Positive encouragement is crucial to the development of a player
of any age and ability, but as the silver-winning Kannusta Mua
campaign highlights, it is particularly important to strike the right
tone with children. The initiative, born in Helsinki in 2016, aims
to improve the behaviour of adults who are involved in children’s
football, to make it more enjoyable for coaches, staff, volunteers,
parents and young players. Its success has been credited with
helping the association to attract sponsorship, and it has now
been rolled out throughout Finland.
Grassroots activities for older people, and women
in particular, are rapidly gaining in popularity. This
small yet innovative Lithuanian project is designed to
promote activity and a healthy lifestyle in older people,
while strengthening that inimitable bond between
grandparents and their grandchildren. Encouraging the
participants aged from 46 to 75 to play alongside their
grandchildren, Grandmas for Football uses a foamrubber ball in small-sided games.
UEFA DIRECT • December 2017 – 12
Senik Arakelyan is a coach
at the Tribune grassroots club
in the city of Gyumri, where
almost 1,000 children, teachers
and coaches are involved in
events and sessions every year.
As Arakelyan watched the
popularity of women’s football
take off elsewhere in Europe,
he strived to bury his doubts
that this passion would ever
find its way to Armenia.
The determined coach
came up against resistance
from parents in the Shirak
region, who were reluctant to
register their daughters with
clubs. So in 2013, he turned to
an orphanage. “It was hard
to assemble a team in Gyumri
because parents would not
allow their daughters to join
football clubs,” he said. “This
was the reason I decided to
start with orphanage girls.
I started training with ten
girls on a sand pitch. Gradually
the number of participants
increased and then we
succeeded in the 2015/16
season and won the A and
B groups in the Armenian
women’s championship.
“To spread awareness, we
organise activities in schools
and hold tournaments during
the whole year and make it
possible for several hundreds
of girls to play football.”
Arakelyan also organises
activities for disabled children
and, as the representative
of the Football Federation of
Armenia (FFA) in Gyumri, visits
schools to review their football
lessons and offer advice
to teachers, while also
cooperating closely with
local municipalities to organise
tournaments, street events
and schools competitions.
“Playing football is a
pleasure,” he says. “Every
person, regardless of age, sex,
ethnicity or disability, has the
right to be happy and enjoy
this pleasure. In my opinion,
playing football is about
enjoyment. People get a
sense of equality and respect
playing football.”
FFA grassroots specialist
Lala Yeritsyan said: “People
like Senik are very important to
football’s development. People
like him live for football; they
are part of football. They are
able to grab children’s
attention, to make them see
how interesting playing football
Senik Arakelyan (Armenia)
can be, how important it is as
a way of staying healthy. He is
also able to change attitudes
towards women’s football,
which is not very well
developed in our country yet.”
Ralf Klohr (Germany)
Abuse, aggression and attacks have no place in football, yet even at youth
level, exchanges can become heated. After a match that Ralf Klohr – a
dedicated regional association president – attended with other parents
was abandoned by the referee because of touchline disagreements, he
developed the FairPlayLiga in Germany, a simple but effective resource
for helping to develop friendly and positive environments in children’s
football. This award has helped to encourage an approach whereby
participation and enjoyment are the most important things, and to
reduce the pressure on performance.
Senik Arakelyan won gold in the
Best Grassroots Leader category
for his work developing girls’
football in Armenia.
Ana Paula Pinho Almeida
Using football to teach young girls social
values, Ana Paula Pinho Almeida is the
technical coordinator of women’s grassroots
football at a Portuguese club renowned for
creating opportunities for local girls. She has
developed and implemented many events
with the support of local education authorities.
UEFA DIRECT • December 2017 – 13
Some of football’s biggest names joined the 100,000 people who took part in
the largest social development campaign in European sport, the Fare Football People
action weeks, from 5 to 19 October.
UEFA competitions enter
into the spirit
UEFA underlined its commitment to
tackling all forms of discrimination and
to using football to promote inclusion
during all 59 matches of the Champions
League, Europa League and the Women’s
Champions League staged during the
action weeks, as well as at three Women’s
World Cup qualifiers. Spots were aired in
the stadiums, announcements were made
over stadium loudspeakers, player escorts
wore #EqualGame T-shirts and team
captains donned branded armbands to
encourage everyone in the stadiums and
at home to embrace diversity.
The UEFA president, Aleksander
Čeferin, said: “I am excited to offer
UEFA’s full support for the Football People
action weeks. By dedicating a matchday
in the men’s and women’s Champions
Leagues, the Europa League and
Women’s World Cup qualifiers to the
campaign, we want to highlight our
commitment to leading the way in
making discrimination a thing of the past
and celebrating diversity in the game.”
Tibor Navracsics, European
commissioner for education, culture,
youth and sport, also expressed his
support for the initiative: “Sport brings
people together and creates communities.
It has a unique power that we need to
harness to build a better Europe. The
Football People action weeks provide
Wolfsburg and Atlético supported the #EqualGame campaign at their
Women’s Champions League match in Germany on 11 October.
a great opportunity for everyone to
get involved.”
Piara Powar, executive director of
the Fare network, said: “Football can
play a vital role in breaking down barriers
and helping to heal divisions in society.
It has never been more important to
confront these issues, whether they
involve racism, homophobia or gender
inequality, or the rights of refugees and
underrepresented minorities.”
Football associations
play their part
Thirty-five football associations supported
the Football People weeks, with two,
Belgium and Serbia, showing their
support during their 2018 World Cup
qualifying campaigns.
The Royal Belgian Football Association
hosted a study group seminar on diversity
and inclusion, which was attended by
representatives from 16 national football
associations, who all pledged their support
for the campaign. Among those taking part
were the football associations of Croatia,
Denmark, England, Estonia, Finland, France,
Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway,
Poland, the Republic of Ireland, Romania,
Russia, Spain and Turkey.
Getty Images
uring the two weeks of action,
organised and coordinated by
the Fare network, a UEFA social
responsibility partner, more than 2,000
activities focused on tackling
discrimination and encouraging social
inclusion and education across 61
countries in Europe and beyond.
Numerous national football associations,
leagues, professional clubs and highprofile players contributed to the Football
People weeks, with many also showing
their support for UEFA’s #EqualGame
campaign to promote diversity, inclusion
and accessibility in the game.
Various Football People events took
place at national and international level
across the continent, including debates on
anti-discrimination and diversity in football,
grassroots activities, workshops, film
festivals, panel discussions and fan
choreographies. A campaign video was
launched on the opening day to inspire
many more to become Football People.
federation, the ministry of youth and sport,
Bucharest city hall and NGOs, and was
followed by a match at the national
stadium involving youngsters from the
Roma community.
Ryu Voelkel/Fare network
Russian teams say no
to discrimination
In Russia, the premier league game between
Krasnodar and CSKA Moskva was dedicated
to the Football People action weeks. The
two teams lined up behind a large banner
reading ‘We say no to discrimination’.
Italy sends out a message
of equality
Italy’s men’s and women’s national
teams did their bit to promote the
action weeks, with stars such as Ciro
Immobile and Leonardo Bonucci
standing shoulder to shoulder with
players of the women’s Under-19 national
team to send a message of equality to
everyone involved in football.
Romania gets the Roma
community involved
In Bucharest, the Romanian Football
Federation hosted a launch event for a
series of Football People activities for
marginalised young people from the Roma
community. The event brought together
former players, representatives of the
FIGC/Fare network
Malta develops a refugee
inclusion strategy
The Malta Football Association (MFA)
partnered up with Fare to run a workshop
on refugee inclusion and launch a
nationwide campaign to address
gender-based violence.
On 13 October, the MFA launched
a Zero Tolerance of Gender-based
Violence campaign in collaboration
with the Maltese president’s foundation
for the wellbeing of society. Four Maltese
footballers took part in the launch at
the National Stadium in Ta’Qali, while
Maltese internationals Michael Mifsud
and Alfred Effiong featured in a video
emphasising that there are no winners
in gender-based violence.
As part of the two-day event, a half-day
conference looked at the role football can
play in increasing the social inclusion of
refugees and encouraging tolerance
and diversity. The workshop served as
a platform to initiate and establish a
Maltese Football People network, which
will generate more opportunities in and
through football for new arrivals and
asylum seekers.
Support from professional clubs
Top clubs across Europe also joined in
the campaign, including AEL Limassol,
Appolon Limassol, AEK Larnaka, BATE
Borisov, Inter Milan, Viktoria Plzeň,
Villarreal, Shamrock Rovers, Slovan
Liberec, Brighton & Hove Albion, Cork
City, Mallorca, Clubul Sportiv U Craiova,
Panserraikos and Panathinaikos.
In Greece, Olympiacos produced a video
featuring the team’s top players giving out
a message against discrimination. The club
also took to social media to show its
support for the campaign. PAOK echoed
the message of inclusion on its website and
social media and through videos displayed
on the screens in its stadium. Celtic and
Ferencvarosi TC also produced videos in
support of the cause.
An unprecedented number of women’s
teams also took part in this year’s
campaign, including Chelsea, Zurich,
Fortuna Hjørring, Gintra Universitetas,
VFL Wolfsburg and Zvezda-2005.
Last but not least, the European Club
Association (ECA) lent its support to the
campaign for the first time. The ECA
general secretary, Michele Centenaro, said:
“The ECA stands strongly behind those
actively promoting unity and inclusiveness
during the Football People action weeks
across the continent.”
After two successful Football People
action weeks that took in the length
and breadth of European football, let
us hope that everyone who took part
continues to set an example and drive
home the message that discrimination
has no place whatsoever in football
or in society as a whole.
AC Milan and Italy defender Leonardo Bonucci
supports the cause.
UEFA DIRECT • December 2017 – 15
16 – UEFA DIRECT • December 2017
“When I play football,
I feel like everyone else”
Nine-year-old Jane Velkovski lives and breathes football.
He plays the game whenever he gets the chance, whether
it is at home or at school, and his eyes light up whenever
he talks about his favourite sport.
ootball is everything in my life,” Jane explains. “I play it in video games, I play it
in our garden, and I play it at school. I play football everywhere.”
Jane’s determination to play football is even more impressive given the fact that
he uses a wheelchair, having been diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy. Jane, who lives
in Skopje, the capital of FYR Macedonia, relishes every opportunity he gets to play the game,
and is his team’s last line of defence in goal.
Looking at Jane’s enthusiasm for football and for life, it is difficult to imagine the constant
battles he has had to endure off the pitch. He needs special care throughout the day, even
for simple things such as changing his position in his wheelchair.
In 2015, Jane travelled to Paris for an operation to correct curvature in his spine. Every six
months, he has follow-up treatment in the hope that this will increase his chances of one day
being able to walk.
“Football has had a very positive influence on his life and having to deal with all the problems
he is facing,” says Jane’s father, Gjorgji. “Through football, he has been able to realise that he
can play an active part in society.”
Jane has become a small sensation in FYR Macedonia. He first began to grow in popularity
after being handed the honour of leading out FYR Macedonia for their World Cup qualifier
against Spain in June. However, it was an image from the UEFA Super Cup match in Skopje
a couple of months later that really captured the country’s imagination.
His mother, Denica, photographed Jane next to a poster of one of his favourite players,
Cristiano Ronaldo. She published the picture on the internet, and her post went viral.
Jane’s dream is to one day meet his idol in the flesh, or even better, to have the opportunity
to run and play the game just like his hero.
UEFA DIRECT • December 2017 – 17
“i make new friends on the playground. They
respect me, listen to me and treat me well.
More importantly, they treat me equally.”
18 – UEFA DIRECT • December 2017
UEFA DIRECT • December 2017 – 19
20 – UEFA DIRECT • December 2017
“I play as a goalkeeper
in my wheelchair.
I stop the ball from
going in the net, and it
makes me feel good.”
“I FIRST became interested in football when
I got my electric-powered wheelchair.
I could NOW play like EVERYbody else, because
with A manual WHEELchair it’s difficult.”
Photos: UEFA
UEFA DIRECT • December 2017 – 23
he former Champions League winner
will work with the UEFA president,
Aleksander Čeferin, and the football
division on a variety of topics, including
technical aspects of the game and the
overall attractiveness of the sport. He will
also be the leading figure of the UEFA
ambassadors programme.
“Luís Figo was a fantastic player who was
exemplary in the way he conducted himself
both on and off the pitch,” the UEFA
president said. “He is a highly respected
figure within the game and I am very
pleased he is joining our team. His
tremendous football experience will
be a very valuable asset to UEFA.”
Commenting on his appointment,
Figo said: “I have been lucky to gain a
wealth of experience and I believe I can
have a positive influence in passing on my
knowledge. Football is constantly evolving.”
The former Portuguese international had an
outstanding playing career, which saw him
earn 127 caps (a record which has been
broken only by Cristiano Ronaldo) and win
the Champions League in 2002 with Real
Madrid, as well as the Cup Winners’ Cup
and the Super Cup on two occasions. His
greatest individual award came in 2000,
when he won the Ballon d’Or.
Figo joins the likes of Nadine Kessler
and Dejan Stanković, who joined UEFA
as football advisors earlier this year.
Kessler has since been appointed as head
of the new women’s football unit. These
appointments are all part of the UEFA
president’s policy to get more former
players involved in the decision-making
process on how football is organised
and run.
Luís Figo is bringing his wealth of knowledge and experience
to UEFA as he joins the organisation as a football advisor.
Borgonovo Foundation
The Stefano Borgonovo Foundation
was the recipient of the 2012 UEFA
Monaco charity cheque to support
research into amyotrophic lateral
sclerosis (ALS), a neurological
disease that mainly involves the
nerve cells (neurons) responsible
for controlling voluntary muscle
24 – UEFA DIRECT • December 2017
The disease is progressive, meaning
the symptoms get worse over time.
Currently, there is no cure for ALS
and no effective treatment to halt,
or reverse, the progression of the disease.
The €1m cheque was presented to the wife
of the renowned AC Milan and ACF
Fiorentina striker Stefano Borgonovo, who
himself had been diagnosed with the
disease, by the then UEFA president,
Michel Platini, who said: “The Monaco
charity cheque reflects the governing
body’s commitment to improving health
across Europe. We hope to make a positive
contribution to finding a cure for ALS, as
well as offering support to ALS patients
and their families.”
With the backing of UEFA, the Stefano
Borgonovo Foundation has driven
forward its campaign through muchneeded investment into research. The
money received from UEFA was used
mainly to support clinical research into
the development of stem cell lines,
leading to trials on patients, some
being among the most advanced trials
in the international scientific landscape.
Clinical trials offer hope for many people
and an opportunity to help researchers
find better ways to safely detect, treat
or prevent the disease. A comprehensive
observational, retrospective cohort study
was also financed in order to collect,
manage and analyse data aimed at
investigating the influence of potential
epidemiological risk factors for ALS.
Since Stefano’s death in 2013 at the
age of 49, his widow, Chantal, has been
tirelessly carrying on her husband’s mission
with the purpose of raising awareness and
putting the spotlight on the disease. She
has also told her story in a book, ‘Una vita
in gioco: l’amore, il calcio, la SLA’ (A Life in
the Game: Love, Football and ALS”), from
the very beginning of her love for Stefano
to the epilogue.
The Football Association of Montenegro hosted representatives of UEFA, its 55 member
associations and guests from FIFA, the AFC, CAF, CONCACAF and CONMEBOL for the 16th
annual UEFA club licensing and financial fair play workshop from 11 to 13 October, in order
to reflect on and address a number of current licensing challenges and financial trends.
performance are gaining ground
throughout Europe, with transfer profits
and higher UEFA competition distributions
for the first time taking more than half of
Europe’s leagues into the black.
Getting the right results
Overdue payables assessments likewise
continued to produce encouraging results,
with just under €7m in overdue payables
towards clubs, employees and social/tax
authorities registered as at 30 June 2017.
Once again, this shows that financial
fair play is working and turning European
club football finances around, as does
the continued decrease in clubs’ net
debts, which are now at their lowest
level on record, equivalent to just 35%
of annual revenue.
Savo Prelević
EFA’s head of club licensing, Aleš
Zavrl, began by reflecting on the
licensing process just completed
for 2017/18: “Out of the 555 applications
received for UEFA licences, 491 were
granted, representing the highest success
rate since the system was implemented.”
The latest figures, which are based on
a detailed review of over 700 clubs, were
presented to the 160 licensing and financial
experts in attendance. The figures showed
that top-division clubs were generating
higher operating profits than ever before,
with combined club losses (after transfers
and financing) decreasing for the fifth year
in a row, dropping from €1.7bn before the
introduction of financial fair play to just
over €260m in the financial year ending
in 2016. Improved financial stability and
The workshop featured an update on
FIFA’s club licensing as well as a panel
discussion in which representatives of FIFA
and UEFA’s sister confederations discussed
their different experiences and the realities
of implementing club licensing in their
respective territories.
A major focal point at this year’s
gathering was the future of club licensing
and how to adapt it to the ever-evolving
landscape of European football. With that
in mind, UEFA presented the results of
one of its recent research projects on
the keys to successful youth academies
in Europe and how club licensing could
be further used to raise standards in
youth development across the continent.
A number of UEFA member associations
were also invited to present the club
licensing initiatives they had introduced at
national level and how they could be used
to improve governance and management
at both league and club level.
The representatives of UEFA’s member
associations took part in group discussions
to look at issues such as financial
polarisation and transfer concentration,
sharing their experiences and giving
their views on how club licensing and
financial fair play should evolve and
what they should focus on.
UEFA vice-president Michele Uva,
who also chairs the UEFA Club Licensing
Committee, encouraged this forwardlooking approach: “When club licensing
was introduced in 2004, it aimed primarily
to raise minimum standards in European
football governance following a large
number of cases of mismanagement
that even, in some cases, unfortunately
led clubs to ruin. However, we have come
a long way since then and a great deal
has been achieved. I ask that we now all
continue to show such great dedication
and keep looking ahead in order to tackle
anything that could defy these objectives.”
UEFA DIRECT • December 2017 – 25
UEFA has been supporting football-related academic research projects through its Research
Grant Programme since 2010. This month, Dr Johannes L. Tol presents a feasibility study on
a new approach to evaluating microstructural recovery at return to play.
What we did
We tested the new technique on 5 healthy
and 27 injured athletes. Fifteen of the injured
athletes underwent DT-MRI scans at return
to play, most of whom were professional
26 – UEFA DIRECT • December 2017
ecent studies on hamstring injuries
sustained by players in the UEFA
Champions League indicate a 4%
increase every year since 2001 in what is
the most common injury among professional
footballers. Given the high reinjury rate,
deciding when a player is fit to return to
play remains a major challenge.
Hamstring injuries cause professional players
to be absent for several weeks, which is very
costly for their clubs. Meanwhile, for middleaged recreational players, such injuries can be
a source of persistent frustration and eventually
cause them to stop playing, which, in turn,
can affect their overall health and fitness.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is
frequently used for the diagnosis and prognosis
of hamstring injuries. However, conventional
MRI techniques show fluid build-up but not
the microstructural recovery of injured muscle
fibres. Our project used an innovative MRI
technique – diffusion tensor magnetic
resonance imaging (DT-MRI) – to evaluate the
feasibility of accurately visualising muscle fibre
recovery using fibre-tracking techniques.
Dr Johannes L. Tol is a sports medicine physician. Currently
a visiting professional at Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports
Medicine Hospital in Qatar, he is employed by the Academic
Medical Center in Amsterdam. He is a senior associate editor
of the British Journal of Sports Medicine and has published
extensively in international peer-reviewed journals.
footballers in the top two Dutch divisions.
With our team available around the clock,
most of the players underwent scans within
four days of their return to play.
What we found
Most injuries occurred in the biceps femoris
muscle, which is in line with the results of
previous UEFA research on this muscle led
by Professor Jan Ekstrand. It took 25 hours
to analyse each DT-MRI data set in the present
study, which leaves room for improvement
in terms of our data processing and analysis
We had to overcome several hurdles on our
way to making the new approach feasible for
future use. Based on our results, however,
we can conclude that DT-MRI is a promising
technique for evaluating muscle fibres at return
to play, and might ultimately provide accurate
visualisations of muscle fibre recovery using
fibre-tracking techniques. The new technique is
still at the research stage, but the project team
is working hard to improve it for the benefit of
footballers at every level and everywhere.
UEFA, the World Heart Federation (WHF), the Dutch Heart Foundation, the Royal
Netherlands Football Association and the European Healthy Stadia Network joined
forces at this summer’s Women’s EURO 2017 to promote an active, healthy lifestyle
among women, children and football fans as a whole.
The European
Healthy Stadia
Network also
developed an
Active Match app
to encourage fans
and those working
at the tournament
to get to and from
the stadiums on
foot or by bike
giant screens and on the pitch at the semifinals, promotional videos on YouTube,
supporter walks on matchdays and tobaccofree stadiums were just some of the ways in
which the campaign was put into action.
With UEFA, the European Healthy Stadia
Network also developed an Active Match app
to encourage fans and those working at the
tournament to get to and from the stadiums
on foot or by bike. The app was downloaded
by more than 1,600 people, who, altogether,
walked or cycled more than 2,000km.
As the campaign slogan suggests, the main
goal of all these activities, in which the host
cities, Dutch celebrities and international sports
stars also got involved, was to get and stay fit
and healthy.
he goal of the campaign, which went by
the name of ‘A healthy heart your goal’,
was to raise awareness among supporters
that heart disease and strokes are the main
causes of death in women across Europe
and that most cardiovascular disease can be
prevented by not smoking, eating a healthy diet
and exercising. Just 30 minutes of moderate
exercise a day, five days a week, can help
reduce the risk and keep your heart healthy.
The campaign encouraged everyone
attending Women’s EURO 2017 in the
Netherlands to adopt a healthy and active
lifestyle and to play football or any other sport
to keep their hearts healthy. Fitness challenges
in schools and the fan zones before and during
the tournament, awareness campaigns on the
UEFA DIRECT • December 2017 – 27
Fernando Gomes is the proud president of the Portuguese Football Federation and a
much-respected football administrator. He has given great amounts to the game in
Portugal and beyond, and his impressive dedication was rewarded with the unforgettable
thrill of his country’s triumph at UEFA EURO 2016 in France.
First of all, can you tell us a
little about yourself?
I was born in Porto, and studied
economics at the University of Porto,
where I got my degree. In professional
life, I worked as an expert in information
systems before moving on to serve major
economic groups in Portugal. I moved
into sports leadership in 1992, and
became president of the Portuguese
Football League in 2010. I was elected
as president of the Portuguese Football
Federation in December 2011.
How did your move into sports
leadership happen?
I started out as a player with FC Porto’s
basketball section in the 1960s, and
I continued to play until I began
professional life. At the beginning of
the 1990s, the club decided to close the
basketball section – but together with a
group of friends and former team-mates,
I decided to try to do something to keep
the section alive. We went to the club
president, proposed our knowledge and
28 – UEFA DIRECT • December 2017
experience to take care of the section, and
that was when I entered into FC Porto’s
management. Eventually, I took on a
variety of other functions. These included
marketing activities, and I created a
company to manage commercial issues.
I joined the Porto management board in
2000, and stayed with the club until 2010,
when I became president of the
Portuguese Football League.
Did you ever imagine one day
that you would be at the helm
of Portuguese football?
No, not really. I gained considerable
satisfaction as a Porto management board
member, especially when, in 2003 and
2004, we won the UEFA Cup and then
the Champions League. Overseeing the
project to finance the construction
of Estádio do Dragão in Porto was also a
memorable moment. I felt proud to part
of this success, because it reflected the
hard work that we had all done.
I never thought of getting involved at
national level – I was working for a club,
and when I took the decision to leave
FC Porto, my first thought was actually
to reduce my involvement in football.
But I was asked by several clubs to put
myself forward as a candidate for the
league presidency, and an idea gradually
emerged that one day I might be capable
of leading the football federation. This
came to be, because in 2011 I was elected
to that post.
UEFA Executive Committee
member since 2015, and
vice-president since April this year,
Fernando Gomes talks to us about his
lifelong devotion to football and sport,
which began when he was a small boy,
and what it means to be at the helm of
the national association in a country that
has football engraved in its heart.
Fernando Gomes looks to the sky at
the Stade de France on 10 July 2016,
as Portugal claim their first-ever
international title.
DIRECT ••December
2017–– 29
Now let’s go further back.
Were you a fan of football as
a young child?
Yes, indeed. I’ve loved sport and football
all my life. I remember that at a very early
age, when I was four or five years old,
I used to go to watch FC Porto with my
father – so, from the beginning, I had an
emotional link with the club. I recall, as a
young boy, listening to football on the
radio. Porto won the league title in 1959,
and I was always keen to know how the
team was doing when they played away
from home. I also clearly remember the
first time that I saw a match on TV – the
European Cup final in 1962, when another
Portuguese team, Benfica from Lisbon,
beat Real Madrid 5-3 in a wonderful
match in Amsterdam. I remember the
black-and-white images vividly. Of course,
I also fondly recall the happy days of
leaving school and playing football in
the street with my friends.
Did you have any favourite
players as a youngster?
The players in the Porto team that won
the title in 1959 were all my heroes,
especially Virgílio and Hernâni, but I also
very much appreciated two players from
our great rivals, Benfica: Mário Coluna
and Eusébio, who were in the team that
won two successive European Cups at
the start of the 1960s. They were fantastic
players. It was special as a ten-year-old
boy watching Eusébio and Madrid’s
Alfredo Di Stéfano parade their skills in
that final in 1962.
Let’s move onto EURO 2016 – it
must have been unforgettable
for you, both as a president and
a Portugal fan ...
What comes to my mind immediately are
the fantastic moments that I was fortunate
to live – for the first time, my country,
which loves football so much, won a
EURO title. It was something special;
you never can forget that. I think of
what happened in Paris on 10 July, and
in Portugal the following day, when we
were greeted in Lisbon by thousands of
people. It was truly wonderful!
When did you start believing that
Portugal could win the title?
Before leaving Portugal for France, I
remember that our coach, Fernando
Santos, said that we would return home
[after the final] on 11 July. And although it
30 – UEFA DIRECT • December 2017
Presse Sports
was clear that we were not the favourites,
we believed him because he had such
confidence in what he did. The moment
that I then really began believing was
when we beat Croatia – one of the best
teams in the tournament. From then on,
I started thinking that something special
could happen.
Eusébio, one of Fernando Gomes’s first football
heroes, takes on Giovanni Trapattoni in the 1963 final
of the European Champion Clubs’ Cup, in which Milan
denied Benfica a third consecutive win.
Tell us your exact emotions
when the final whistle was
blown …
I looked to the sky and remembered my
parents, particularly my mother. My father
died when I was 13. We didn’t come from
a rich family, and it was not easy for her
to bring up three sons on her own.
What do you think were the
reasons for Portugal’s triumph?
Fernando Santos created a fantastic team
spirit and got the best out of the players,
especially in the final, when Cristiano
Ronaldo had to leave the field through
injury. In Portugal, we say that when
something bad happens to you, you
generate new things to forget the
negatives. At that moment, when all the
players realised that Cristiano couldn’t
continue, they understood that they
needed to pull together even more
strongly. It was a key moment. Other
things gave us confidence – our amazing
fans in Portugal, and the Portuguese
community in France. They carried the
team along, greeting us when we came
back from matches, even at 5.30 in the
morning when we returned from Marseille
after our victory over Poland in the
quarter-final. I won’t forget that loyalty.
“What we believe (…) is
that having success at
youth level gets you closer
to winning at senior level.
Look at our squad in
France. Most of them had
a lot of experience at
youth level.”
Are you still thrilled by the
atmosphere, by the buzz, when
you walk into a stadium?
Certainly, and I like to go with the team to
the dressing-room area and onto the pitch
before matches, so I can link this buzz with
the match that I am going to watch. But I
can tell you that this buzz changes when
the match kicks off. I’m then concentrated
and calm.
Which modern players have
left an impression on you?
I’d like to take the opportunity to highlight
players from my country, because we are
privileged to have footballers of the calibre
of Cristiano Ronaldo, Ricardinho in futsal,
Cláudia Neto in women’s football, and
Madjer, a beach soccer world champion.
Portugal is lucky to have players like this,
who are among the best in the world in
their respective football sectors.
Sir Alex Ferguson, the technician who, to this day,
has made the greatest mark on Fernando Gomes.
Is there any other person that
you’ve met who has made a
lasting impression on you?
Sir Alex Ferguson. I have great respect for
him, because of the work he did as a
coach at Manchester United, and the
Presse Sports
What’s the best match that
you’ve ever seen?
It’s obviously the EURO final, because I was
so involved! Other matches come to mind,
of course – the 1962 European Cup final,
as I’ve already said; Portugal’s fightback
from three goals down to beat North
Korea 5-3 in the 1966 World Cup in
England; Porto’s win against Bayern
Munich in the 1987 European Cup final;
the 1964 Cup Winners’ Cup final, which
went to a replay, when João Morais gave
Sporting Clube de Portugal victory over
MTK Budapest with a goal directly from
a corner kick; Portugal coming back from
2-0 down to beat England 3-2 at EURO
2000 … But there was nothing like the
final in Paris.
When you watch Portugal play,
you’re sat with your counterparts
from the opposing association –
some of whom are friends and
colleagues in the UEFA Executive
Committee. How tough is it not
to celebrate too much when your
team scores?
It’s obviously not easy to stay calm, and
it can depend on your personality – you
never lose your passion, but you must
always show respect for your colleagues
and the opposing team. For example,
when we beat Croatia after extra time at
the EURO, Davor Šuker [Croatian FA
president and Executive Committee
colleague] was especially gracious and
shook my hand warmly. We understood
each other’s feelings. We respected each
other. It’s fantastic that we can all do so
at such a moment.
Above: The Dragons' victory in the 2003/04 UEFA
Champions League was a highlight of Fernando
Gomes’s tenure at FC Porto, from 2000 to 2010.
Right: For Fernando Gomes, the legacy created by
Cristiano Ronaldo in Portuguese football extends far
beyond the pitch.
UEFA DIRECT • December 2017 – 31
relationships that he established within his
work. He left a considerable mark on me.
In the European Under-17
Championship, Portugal have
played in seven finals and won six
titles; at Under-19 level, they have
reached eight finals and won two
titles. Is there an explanation as
to why it took Portugal so long
to win a EURO? Why do you think
that youth success can be so hard
to repeat at senior level?
What we believe, based on our experience,
is that having success at youth level gets
you closer to winning at senior level. It was
like that with our golden generation that
were two times Under-20 world
champions [in 1989 and 1991] and reached
the EURO 2004 final and the 2006 World
Cup semi-finals. And it was like that with
the European champions. Look at our
squad in France. Most of them had a lot
of experience at youth level, having been
either Under-17 European champions in
2003, Under-20 World Cup finalists in
2011 or Under-21 finalists in 2015. The
vast majority had more than 50 caps for
Portugal before arriving in our main
national team. For Europe it may have
been a surprise that we won the European
Championship but most of our opponents
knew our players and all their earlier
successes. They have played many finals;
they have been at top level for many years.
I also think that better organisation and
leadership, like the one Fernando Santos
gave us, made the difference between
success and getting close to success.
In Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal has
one of the best – if not the best
– players in the world. How does
his presence help the development
and profile of Portuguese football
away from the pitch?
In every way. He is a source of inspiration
to all our young generations of players; he
is a leader of our squad and an example for
all our countrymen to follow. That example
is based on honesty, work, generosity and
talent. I thinks it’s fair to acknowledge that
his legacy is unique and drives our younger
generations to follow in his footsteps.
Delving into the UEFA records,
we find that Spain have proved
a stumbling block for Portuguese
hopes at Futsal EUROs (Spain have
beaten Portugal six times in
knockout matches or in the group
stage). Would you hope to avoid
your neighbours this time around?
I believe, like in football, that we have to
concentrate on ourselves rather than on
our opponents or possible opponents.
We also know that success at this level
comes from hard work, organisation and
experience. We are doing our groundwork;
we will be prepared to face, with ambition
and respect, any national team that comes
our way.
What will be your expectations
in Slovenia?
We always have the same ambition:
to win every game we play. We have an
enormous task ahead of us given the
strength of national teams like Russia,
Spain, Italy, Ukraine and Azerbaijan, but
we also know that an equally enormous
reward is at stake in Slovenia.
How are you developing futsal
in Portugal?
Futsal has always been a central part of
our development plan. We increased
the number of our players and national
teams, male and female, we rebuilt our
competitions, we attracted new sponsors,
and we took futsal into our communities
through social responsibility programmes.
Also, our clubs kept investing in futsal,
lifting our country to excellency. We will
continue to raise the bar by building our
national team facilities in the City of
Football in Oeiras. That is going to be
a major step forward.
Portugal qualified for their first
Women’s EURO in the Netherlands.
What sort of boost will this give
women’s football in Portugal?
Women’s football has been one of our
priorities these last years. We believe this
is part of a virtuous circle, having more
than doubled the number of female
players, reorganised our national teams
and our competitions, from the base to
Getty Images
Carolina Mendes opens the
scoring for Portugal against
Scotland at Women’s EURO
2017, helping the team to
secure their first points at
the tournament.
Getty Images
The significance of Éder’s
goal in the 109th minute
of the EURO 2016 final was
apparent to all.
the top, and sent our national team to
their first-ever Women’s EURO. At the
same time, their participation prompted
more girls to start playing football and
served as a reward to all our partners. We
believe we will be a better country as a
result, with more gender equality and
integration, and better health indicators.
Do you take pride in your role on
the UEFA Executive Committee?
I’m very proud of what we are doing
because we are following the right path
in our efforts to defend the game and its
values, promoting inclusion and fighting
match-fixing and racism, and being
transparent. I hope that I am helping and
adding value to the committee’s work.
“People look up to us.
We need to set an example
every day through values,
principles and actions.
If we don’t, we won’t be
worthy as an example
to our fans.”
What are the greatest dangers
facing football in Europe in the
near future?
I believe that the biggest challenge for
football is to answer our own social
responsibilities. People look up to us.
We need to set an example every day
through values, principles and actions.
We have to walk the walk. In other words,
we need to fight racism, intolerance,
corruption and violence. We have to
promote social inclusion, gender equality
and fair play besides being a contributor
to more environmentally sustainable
societies and richer economies. I believe
we have to relentlessly fight match-fixing.
If we don’t, we won’t be worthy as an
example to our fans.
What would you wish for football
in the future?
I would like to see football showing
an example by helping to improve the
world, because it has an important social
dimension in protecting and defending
the correct values. I’d like more women
to have the opportunity to be involved
in the game. And football can play a
great role in supporting migrants and
refugees. I definitely feel that our
sport can contribute in a significant
way to creating a more inclusive and
peaceful society.
And finally, what do you do
to switch off from football?
My professional life meant that I had
to move from Porto to Lisbon, but my
family ties still bring me back to Porto.
I have two granddaughters, and they are
there. Because I can’t be with them
during the week, I look forward to the
times when I can go back and see them.
Otherwise, I would say that sport is
actually my hobby as well. I’m interested
in all sports, and I’m always watching
sport in some capacity.
UEFA DIRECT • December 2017 – 33
UEFA has enhanced its anti-doping programme for 2017/18 with a
platform and app where players, coaches and team staff can report
their doping suspicions.
recognises the crucial role that whistleblowing can also play in preventing
doping and wants to give informers the
opportunity to come forward to report
their information in a confidential and
secure way.
UEFA encourages anyone who has
witnessed an anti-doping rule violation
being committed, or who has reasonable
grounds to believe that doping has taken
place in football, to get in touch.
Informers can provide their contact
details if they wish, or access a secure
postbox where information can be
exchanged anonymously. The confidential
reporting platform and app are available in
seven languages (English, French, German,
Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish),
allowing users to report in whichever
language they feel most comfortable.
The integrity platform can be accessed
on UEFA.com or by means of the integrity
app that can be downloaded from
the App Store or Google Play.
Alongside testing and investigations,
prevention is also a crucial aspect of UEFA’s
anti-doping programme. All teams taking
part in the final tournaments of UEFA’s
youth final competitions attend special
anti-doping education sessions given by a
UEFA anti-doping expert. The sessions are
designed specifically for youth players and
highlight the consequences of taking drugs,
including the risks to the players’ health
and careers. Topics covered include the
WADA Prohibited List, the doping control
process, players’ rights and responsibilities,
and where to go for advice and support.
By giving young players the full picture
and making them aware of all the risks that
doping entails, UEFA hopes they will
continue to practise the values of clean
sport and remain clean throughout
their careers.
EFA’s anti-doping programme
aims to protect the integrity of
European football and provide
clean athletes in all its competitions with
a level playing field.
Through the use of the athlete biological
passport, advice given by anti-doping
experts and the support of Europe’s
national anti-doping organisations
(NADOs), UEFA delivers a comprehensive,
intelligence-led testing programme.
In order to gather additional intelligence,
UEFA expanded its integrity reporting
platform and app at the start of this season
to allow players, coaches, team doctors
and other team staff to report suspected
anti-doping rule violations.
The reporting platform and app have
already been successfully used for a number
of years to fight match-fixing. UEFA
Excellent football coaches rarely emerge from nowhere – rather, expert guidance is required
to nurture coaches and give them the appropriate skills to foster great football players. Those
throughout Europe who are responsible for ‘coaching the coaches’ gathered in Belfast from
16 to 19 October to debate and analyse how best to support this crucial profession.
EFA’s Coach Education Conference
is held every two years, and reviews
developments in the sector –
fulfilling UEFA’s mission to monitor and
foster the game’s evolution at a technical
level. The European body bases this
mission on the premise that well-trained
coaches help produce better players and
teams, which ultimately leads to an overall
improvement in the quality of football
across the continent.
The Irish Football Association (IFA) were
warm and welcoming hosts of an event
designed to help each European national
association in their work to design, deliver
and sustain effective coach education for
their own domestic context.
A key focal point of the conference was
a review of UEFA’s Coaching Convention,
launched in 1998 and seen as a
cornerstone of the development and
promotion of coach education. The
convention, which has been signed by 53
UEFA member associations to date, has
raised coaching standards, promoted the
credibility of the coaching profession and
paved the way for the free movement of
qualified coaches within Europe. Thanks
to its existence, around 200,000 coaches
across Europe have a UEFA-endorsed
coaching qualification that allows them to
practise their profession.
“It is certain that the convention has
raised the level of coach education in our
member associations throughout Europe,”
says UEFA’s head of football education
services, Frank Ludolph. “There is also
much stronger recognition of the coaching
profession, and of the status of the
The convention has also been lauded for
its contribution to European integration.
Its provisions guarantee the mutual
recognition of coaching qualifications.
“This means that coaches can go from
one national association to another to
work,” Ludolph explains. “It means
freedom of movement, and this is very
much in line with European Union
jurisdiction.” In addition, UEFA’s recent
introduction of specialist goalkeeper and
futsal coach education programmes,
including coaching licences in both
sectors, are reflected in the convention.
Not like learning at school
The gathering in Belfast pointed the
way forward for the convention and
coach education activities generally. Leeds
Beckett University in England recently
carried out a study and identified three
crucial priorities that UEFA is now putting
into practice. These priorities are realitybased learning – whereby coaches should
be educated about the everyday realities
of the profession – the development of
coach educators and further education to
further develop UEFA licence holders’
competences as football coaches. At the
conference in Belfast, the associations
were encouraged to maximise these
three areas when designing their coach
education programmes in future, through
the adoption of principles and practices
of adult learning. This reflects the belief
that coach education should not be
like learning in school and that coach
educators and coaches are people who
will derive benefit from, among other
things, meeting constant challenges,
relishing engagement and decisionmaking, effectively turning theory into
practice and working purposefully
with others.
UEFA’s managing director of technical
development, Ioan Lupescu, gave an
important message to the coach
educators before they left Belfast –
namely, that their work was vital in
helping to take European football
forward: “Future professional coaches
are benefitting from high-quality coach
education,” he said. “The educator is
crucial. This key technician needs to
be empowered.”
UEFA DIRECT • December 2017 – 35
A total of 68 goals were scored at Women's
EURO 2017. Here, we break down the numbers.
Top scorers
Total goals
and matches
per tournament
0 assists - 328 minutes played
0 assists - 536 minutes played
1 assist - 540 minutes played
Goals scored
First goal wins?
Matches played
Average goals
per match
2 assists - 525 minutes played
36 – UEFA DIRECT • December 2017
of games with goals
were won by the team
that scored first
Goals scored
from set plays
Free-kick (direct)
Free-kick (indirect)
Goals scored
in open play
Cut-back 2
Run with the ball
Forward pass
Defensive error 4
When the goals
were scored
UEFA DIRECT • December 2017 – 37
“In football, being able to
listen is as important as
patience, as important as
confidence, as important as
respect. The players should
learn this responsibility,
this professionalism,
from their coaches.”
38 – UEFA DIRECT • December 2017
Getty Images
Accolades are nice. But sometimes they are not enough. It would be a shame to condense
more than four decades of coaching into a rosary of titles, coach of the year awards and
appearances on UEFA Champions League benches. On the other hand, it would perhaps be
churlish to ignore six Romanian league titles as a right-side attacker and 70 caps for Romania,
including three wearing the captain’s armband at the 1970 World Cup.
oaching achievements in
Romania, Italy, Turkey, Russia
and Ukraine reached their
zenith with eight league titles,
six domestic cups and seven
Ukrainian super cups with Shakhtar
Donetsk, along with a historic victory
against Werder Bremen in the last-ever
UEFA Cup final, played in Istanbul in 2009.
However, when Mircea Lucescu took time
out from his current duties as Turkey’s
national team coach to visit UEFA’s
headquarters in Nyon, it was not to bask in
such achievements but to share his wealth
of experience with UEFA’s managing
director of technical development, Ioan
Lupescu, and a cosmopolitan audience of
would-be coaches at one of UEFA’s Pro
licence student exchange courses.
Mircea, the first thing I would
like to ask you is how your
coaching career started.
It started with a misfortune that became
an opportunity. I didn’t intend to become
a coach. But there was a huge earthquake
that killed thousands of people in
Bucharest. I was playing at Dinamo at
the time and that earthquake destroyed
my home. We were not professionals.
We were paid as amateurs by different
institutions. That is how the communist
system worked back then. At the same
time, I was studying hard for a career
in economics, specialising in external
commerce, hoping to become one of
the very few students selected to work
for a company that dealt with commerce
beyond the country’s borders, or at an
embassy. My aim was to find a way of
leaving the country. As a youth player,
my first match outside the country
had been in Turkey and I saw that the
reality of capitalism was not how it was
described by Romanian newspapers or
television. I wanted to travel, to learn
about different cultures.
After the earthquake, I moved to
Hunedoara, in Transylvania, to play for a
team belonging to a steel plant. The team
had financial strength and good salaries.
I had spare time to repair the house in
Bucharest that had been destroyed by the
earthquake. I was 30 years old, I played
for the national team and I had some
experience. So I also started working
with children. In Hunedoara, children
had nothing else to do but play football.
I loved sharing my experience with them,
telling them stories about the matches I
played and so on. I showed a lot of passion
and I managed to get some of them so
interested and passionate about football
themselves that five years later, when I
became the national team coach, seven
of my players were from this group of kids.
Is that what persuaded you that
you had the qualities to succeed
as a coach?
We do the most difficult job. I don’t think
there’s a harder job out there. And I’m
mostly referring to the impact it has on
your mind, the passion that is required and
the fact that you constantly go through
a huge variety of feelings. That is why I
believe that a good coach should, first of
all, be a very balanced person. I quickly
realised that there were talented players
everywhere and that what mattered most
was for them to be guided, educated and
organised by someone who is passionate
about the sport and who manages to pass
some of that passion on to the players.
I think this is one of the most important
qualities I had, and one that has helped
me tremendously everywhere I have gone
throughout my career.
At Corvinul, in Hunedoara, I was a player
and coach. Slowly, older players who were
only there to get a salary were replaced
by talented and passionate players that I
discovered. People started realising that I
was able to make a difference for the
team, and I did. The communist party
made me return to Bucharest and within a
year I was a player, a club coach, the
national team coach and head of the
school of coaches, among other things.
And it was all because of the passion and
love I had for football.
But passion is not
enough, surely?
You need to love football tremendously
because that will enable you to get
through the toughest moments of your
career. Because we all have many hard
moments. If you don’t love football, if you
are doing it just to make money, this is not
the job for you. Your love of football will
make you the first to bounce back after a
loss and it will make you able to motivate
your team and give your players hope.
UEFA DIRECT • December 2017 – 39
When you were getting started,
did you have any role models in
the coaching profession?
Don’t forget that in eastern Europe there
was not a culture of individual values. It
was difficult to stand out from the crowd.
I became so popular that I was punished
by the communist party – sacked as
national team coach after we had beaten
Austria 4-0. But I would mention Angelo
Niculescu, who was our coach when we
went to the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.
He was very calm and paid great attention
to everything that was going on around
him. Even though I didn’t work with him
for very long, I also learned a lot from
Ștefan Kovács. He taught me what it
meant to be a citizen of the world.
But I think I learned more from reading
biographies of great leaders and, in
my younger days, exchanging football
magazines with people in different
countries and reading publications like El
Gráfico from Argentina, A Bola, France
Football, L’Équipe and World Soccer.
Did this help when you
left Romania in 1990?
I went to Pisa because the president [of
the club] wanted me. It was an amazing
experience, coming from communist
Romania to a team where everything was
very evolved, very well organised. At that
time, I still couldn’t understand how it
was possible for people to actually make a
living playing football. When I had to leave
Pisa I didn’t know what to do. I talked to
Porto and Standard Liège. I also talked to
40 – UEFA DIRECT • December 2017
‘‘We do the
most difficult
job. I don’t
think there’s a
harder job out
there. That is
why I believe
that a good
coach should,
first of all, be a
very balanced
Getty Images
The second most important thing is
knowing the game and being able to
speak about it with players, with
journalists, with everybody, including
the [club’s] president. There are a lot of
coaches who hide. They don’t speak to the
press, they try to stay under the radar. No.
You should be able to talk about the game
and give an interview with a smile even
under the most difficult circumstances.
A coach should also be very organised
– able to organise the team efficiently and
plan training sessions and matches. And
able to analyse matches and find ways of
extracting positive aspects even from the
worst games. A coach should also learn
to treat players equally, whether they are
superstars or debutants. If he doesn’t
manage to do this, he will face difficulties.
Players can be leaders in popularity, but
the true leader is the coach.
my wife and she didn’t want to leave Italy.
So we let fate decide for us. We made
some notes with a bunch of Italian clubs
on them, with the idea of pulling one out
of a hat to see where we could go next.
But one of the notes went missing: the
one that said ‘Brescia’. I couldn’t find it
anywhere. The next day I found it on the
sole of my shoe and figured it was an
omen. I spent five years at Brescia,
clinching promotion to Serie A twice.
I also learned something important.
Serie A was actually a championship
involving some very good [club] presidents
who led a lot of people and companies.
The best specialists in the Italian
championship were not the coaches.
They were presidents like Andrea Agnelli,
Silvio Berlusconi, Vittorio Cecchi Gori …
guys who understood relationships
between people, who led people. These
were guys with whom you were able to
discuss psychological and mental issues.
Because organising groups works the
same way in industry, in commerce and
in football. These are people who can
help you evaluate players’ potential. They
can help you with an idea; they can give
input when it comes to organising your
formation. But they should never interfere
to the extent of telling you what to do.
If they interfere once, it’s all over.
Serie B was the division of the coaches.
That was where tactics mattered; that
was where the great games were. It was
so intense. That experience helped me a
lot. I worked hard at Brescia, and worked
a lot with young players. Italian football
played a huge role in my career. That is
where I first learned what it really meant
to be a coach.
How important is the
relationship between
the coach and the club’s
president or owner?
Players may come and go, but the rapport
you establish with the club’s president is
essential. I had good relationships with
Luigi Corioni at Brescia, Massimo Moratti
at Inter, Rinat Akhmetov at Shakhtar – part
of the reason I spent 12 years there – Faruk
Süren at Galatasaray, and Serdar Bilgili at
Beşiktaş. You need the ability to establish
these relationships. Unfortunately, when
I joined Zenit I had no direct contact with
the president in order to make my
thoughts heard the way they should have
been. This was the hardest thing for me.
If you don’t share the same philosophy,
conflicts can quickly arise.
You mention the word
‘philosophy’. How important is
it for a coach to have one?
When I was a player-coach at 30 years
old in Hunedoara, I basically had the same
philosophy as I have now. It just became
clearer and better because of
performances and experiences over the
years. The most important thing in the
world is the way we evolve as people.
And I think that’s about curiosity. It is
curiosity that makes us different from
people who lived 5,000 years ago.
Football is no exception, it transforms
every day. Technological innovations,
Mircea Lucescu in
Seville with Shakhtar
for the second leg of
their Europa League
semi-final in 2016.
Presse Sports
for example, will force the coaches of
the future to act differently.
That is why it was important for me to
change countries and clubs. Not too much,
because I am very conservative. I get
attached to people, places; I get attached
to history and many other things. But the
changes helped me because I had to adapt
each time to new places, a new culture.
Because you are the one who needs to
change and adapt. I always had to learn
new things and to bring new things to the
lives of the people who surrounded me.
“Even though I didn’t
work with him for
very long, I also
learned a lot from
Ștefan Kovács. He
taught me what it
meant to be a citizen
of the world.”
Other than that, my philosophy remained
the same. Coaches are different. There
are coaches who build teams, pragmatic
coaches, opportunist coaches ... Each
has his own style. Philosophy is personal.
How do you communicate your
philosophy to your players?
Education is key. My first concern is to
explain my philosophy and to educate
my players, to show them a certain kind
of behaviour. Even as a young coach
travelling with the team abroad, I made
Lucescu’s career
1979-1982 Corvinul Hunedoara (ROU)
1981-1986 Romania
1985-1990 Dinamo Bucuresti (ROU)
Pisa (ITA)
Brescia (ITA)
Reggiana (ITA)
Rapid Bucuresti (ROU)
1998-1999 Internazionale (ITA)
1999-2000 Rapid Bucuresti (ROU)
2001-2002 Galatasaray (TUR)
2002-2004 Beşiktaş (TUR)
Getty Images
2004-2016 Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR)
Zenit (RUS)
the players visit museums. I had Brazilian
players who would try to run out
immediately through another door.
I always found ways of bringing them
back in. I had this power to convince them.
In Hunedoara, I used to take the players
to evening courses and waited for them
outside to make sure they didn’t escape.
Why? Because I realised how important
intelligence is: how important it is for
players to be able to listen and understand.
In football, being able to listen is as
important as patience, as important as
confidence, as important as respect.
The players should learn this responsibility,
this professionalism, from their coaches.
At Shakhtar, we had players from
places in Brazil where school was
almost non-existent. They knew the
bare minimum. They signed contracts
and started getting paid. They bought
diamonds, watches, cars. I slowly started
to educate them, discussing things with
honesty. This is linked to discipline. I never
force discipline on the players. I prefer it
to come naturally. I always explain to
each player that his freedom stops where
somebody else’s freedom begins and that
what he does has an influence on others.
With proper education, these people will
be grateful to you for their entire lives.
Young players arrive with a certain
temperament and we have the job of
moulding them into great people with
good characters. Once they grow, you
need to transform them into personalities,
into role models. From these personalities,
leaders are born. Leaders are not
necessarily people with great attributes;
they are people with great achievements.
They are people who can pull others
behind them and push them towards
success. They need to be passionate,
they need to push others to go further.
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Getty Images
“When everyone is celebrating, the coach should
be the first to think about the next step.”
How do you reconcile your
philosophy and the long-term
education of players with the
need to produce results?
Of course, without results, any philosophy
is dead. As a coach, you need to develop
a playing system that depends on the
qualities of the players you have, along
with a series of other factors. My concept
is based on the way the team is distributed
over the playing area, the techniques of
progression throughout the game, the
manner of disarming the opposition and,
only as a fourth aspect, the game system.
If all this is well organised and well
controlled, the result should be positive.
There is no way it will not succeed in
the long run. But coaches need time.
It is precious. But it is difficult to obtain.
One of the other essential qualities of
a successful coach is the ability to read the
game and make decisions that will lead
the team to victory. In many cases this
is intuition. But the philosopher Henri
Bergson said that intuition is the instinct
of intelligence. So if you are intuitive, it’s
because you have accumulated knowledge
that allows you to make a decision. I have
won many games with an intuitive tactical
move. But I have also had moments when
I have sent on a player and lost the game.
On Sunday, your interventions can be
intuitive, but everything you do during
the week, the way you prepare, plays a
decisive role in how the game plays out.
I remember reading The Art of War by Sun
Tzu, the Chinese general from 2,500 years
ago. He said, if you know yourself and
your opponent, there’s an 80 to 90%
chance you’ll win. If you know yourself,
but you don’t know your opponent, you’re
halfway there. You can either win or lose.
But if you don’t know your opponent’s
potential, you will lose. So games are not
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Getty Images
“On Sunday, your
interventions can be
intuitive, but everything
you do during the week,
the way you prepare,
plays a decisive role in
how the game plays out.”
decided by a momentary decision. You
need thorough preparation. He also said
something else which, applied to football,
translates to the fact that the team that is
better prepared will win. The team that
wants to win. The team prepared to make
bigger sacrifices. The team with the best
substitutes. That is the team that will win.
But all this depends on the coach. The
coach should influence all these things.
2,500 years ago, people had the same way
of thinking. We don’t change. Only the
level of civilisation changed; we are more
civilised now.
Earlier on, you mentioned that
a coach has to be a balanced
person. Is that an easy thing
to achieve?
When everyone is celebrating, the coach
should be the first to think about the next
step. When everyone is sad and with their
guard down, the coach is the one who
should motivate the players to start
working again. Your experience is your
best help with this – the need to find
the right moment to say something, to
Mircea Lucescu shares his wealth of
experience with would-be coaches at a UEFA Pro licence student exchange
course on 2 November.
encourage or to criticise. A great coach
is a coach who has doubts without letting
anyone else know about them. A great
coach is not one who is certain about
things; he’s the one who is not sure,
but never lets it show. He needs to inspire
confidence, and he needs to have a
positive attitude and great optimism.
Of course, it all depends on what the
coach builds up in training, during match
analysis and so on. This is what gives
players confidence. A recipe for what you
should do during a crisis doesn’t exist. You
should have already built a certain
relationship with the players and
management even before such a crisis
occurs, which would allow you to get past
their emotions. Football is a game of
emotions, with a great emotional impact
on everyone involved. Everybody has an
opinion; everybody thinks they know
football and understand it. The coach
needs to keep an open mind and a clear
head. The coach must never make the
mistake of overestimating a win or
underestimating a loss. They are two sides
of the same coin. Both should be treated
in a balanced manner. This comes with
experience. Knowledge has less to do
with it than experience.
How have you maintained the
stamina to coach for so many
years without a break?
Coaches’ lives are not relaxed. We live at
100% intensity. Over almost 50 years at
the highest level, without a sabbatical,
without a break, I have learned to
compensate for the stress of the profession
by loving things outside the game. I have
always tried to strike a balance, because
otherwise you lose your mind. At the end
of a season, the players’ physical fatigue
passes after three or four days. They go on
holiday to the seaside, in the mountains.
Coaches need a lot more time to rest than
anyone else. Because every day, every
week, at every moment you have to bring
something fresh, something that catches
attention and doesn’t become routine.
Something that helps the people around
you produce great performances. That
is why I recommend you don’t let your
profession take over your life.
The Andorran Football
Federation has launched
a zero-tolerance
campaign to tackle abusive
language and bad behaviour
among spectators at grassroots
football and futsal matches.
Backed by the Andorran
government, this new initiative
includes a specific protocol that
will be enforced at all grassroots
matches around the country.
In the event of bad behaviour
among spectators, the referee
will stop the match and call the
coaches and delegates of the
two teams over to alert them
to the situation. If the bad
behaviour continues, a second
warning will be issued. If this
second warning does not suffice,
the match will be abandoned
and the relevant competition
authorities will decide on the
final score and any additional
measures that need to be taken.
Franco Foda was unanimously
appointed as the new
Austrian national team coach at an
extraordinary meeting of the Austrian
Football Association board on 30 October.
The 51-year old German is an
acknowledged expert in Austrian football.
He coached SK Sturm Graz for many years,
winning the Austrian championship and
Austrian Cup, and qualifying twice for the
UEFA Europa League, before taking the
helm at German club 1. FC Kaiserslautern.
As a player with SK Sturm Graz, Foda
won two Austrian championships and one
44 – UEFA DIRECT • December 2017
Austrian Cup, as well as participating
in the UEFA Champions League three
times. He had previously lifted the
German Cup with Kaiserslautern and
Bayer 04 Leverkusen, and made
two appearances for the German
national team.
“The fact that Franco Foda was
unanimously chosen demonstrates his
standing as an expert of the game,” said
Leo Windtner, president of the Austrian
Football Association. “We are delighted
to have appointed him,” added Peter
Schöttel, sporting director.
from far and wide. Mammadov highlighted
the excellent work performed by volunteers
and their important role in ensuring the
successful organisation of the national
team’s home World Cup qualifiers.
He thanked and congratulated them all
for their valuable contributions and wished
them every success for the future.
In recognition of their efforts, the
volunteers who helped out at the
Azerbaijan national team’s home
matches in their 2018 World Cup qualifying
campaign were invited to the headquarters
of the Association of Football Federations
of Azerbaijan (AFFA), where they were
presented with certificates.
Speaking at the event, the AFFA general
secretary, Elkhan Mammadov, said that
volunteering in Azerbaijan was gaining
strength both in football and elsewhere.
It was the AFFA that had introduced the
concept for the U-17 Women’s World Cup
in 2012.
Two years later it organised the
International Football Volunteering Forum,
which had famous Italian World Cup
winner Gianluca Zambrotta as the event
ambassador and attracted participants
enjoyment of playing football rather than
on playing to win, match results are not
recorded and there are no winners or
losers. Every child who takes part receives
a memento from the BFF – boys are given
medals and girls receive T-shirts. In
addition, all participating schools are given
footballs and shirts.
Tournaments are already under way
in various parts of the country, with
applications to organise yet more
coming in thick and fast. From what
we have seen so far, the new
initiative is proving a real success,
and the benefits are already starting
to show.
The Football Federation of Belarus
(BFF) has launched a schools
football project entitled ‘Football
for all’, which will see football
tournaments organised for boys and girls
across the country. Every town, village and
school is invited to run a tournament, for
which the BFF will provide the necessary
equipment. The project has the backing
of the ministry of education, local
municipalities and football clubs.
Developing schools football is one of
the top priorities of the BFF’s grassroots
department. Through the ‘Football for all’
project, the federation aims to improve
the quality and increase the quantity of
schools’ competitions. It has chosen to
target children in the 8–11 age group as
it believes this to be the best time to get
children involved in football.
The first tournament was held in the
city of Brest in early October, with 40
boys’ and 40 girls’ teams applying to take
part. To ensure that the emphasis is on the
UEFA DIRECT • December 2017 – 45
The Bulgarian Football Union
(BFU) is pleased to announce
the launch of its online platform
dedicated to the Bulgarian A League:
www.fpleague.bg. The new website
contains all the latest news, statistics
and results, and allows fans to follow the
events of every single match in real time.
The project has been funded by the FIFA
Forward development programme.
Each Bulgarian A League club has a
separate section on the website, where
fans can access information on results
as well as individual and overall team
performances. The line-ups, team
data and individual player information
are generated by the ‘e-championship’,
launched by the BFU in 2014.
By accessing the e-championship,
A league clubs can modify and add
information relating to their team
and individual players.
The new platform will be useful for
everyone interested in Bulgarian topflight football: journalists, the fans and
the clubs themselves. Future plans include
the addition of a video highlights section,
where fans will be able to catch up with
all the action, and the development of
an English language version.
By earning his 100th cap for
Croatia in their World Cup qualifier
against Finland in October, Luka
Modrić has joined illustrious company
in the world of Croatian football.
To celebrate his momentous
achievement, the national team captain
was presented with a special shirt and
UEFA medal by the president of the
Croatian Football Federation, Davor
Šuker, who also sits on the UEFA
Executive Committee. Modrić can now
count himself among the likes of Stipe
Pletikosa, Josip Šimunić, Ivica Olić, Dario
Šimić and Darijo Srna (the record holder
with 134 caps) in the ‘100 caps club’.
Modrić was also recognised by fellow
professional footballers at The Best FIFA
Football Awards ceremony, where he
was announced as a member of the FIFA
FIFPro World11 for the third consecutive
year. The Real Madrid and Croatia
midfielder also came sixth in the vote for
The Best FIFA Men’s Player Award 2017.
46 – UEFA DIRECT • December 2017
Davor Šuker
and Luka Modrić
In other news, Croatia’s World Roma
Organization was named as one of the
recipients of the 2017 UEFA Foundation
for Children Award. The organisation
has worked with the Croatian FA to
develop activities for boys and girls
belonging to minority groups across the
country. Šuker presented the award to
Toti Dedić from the organisation, along
with a cheque for €50,000 to support its
efforts to fight against discrimination,
racism and poverty.
In line with its own efforts to fight
discrimination, the Croatian FA celebrated
the Fare network’s Football People action
weeks in October, which aim
to raise public awareness and tackle
discrimination in football, and organised
the eighth national minorities’ football
camp in Osijek.
A recent study commissioned
by the Danish Football
Association shows just how
much football gives back to Danish
society. The research, which focused on
the impact of volunteering, preventive
health, social responsibility projects and
job creation projects, was carried out by
Damvad Analytics, a Danish consultancy
firm, with financial support from the
UEFA HatTrick programme (social
responsibility incentive).
For the first time, the Danish FA
has been able to put a price tag on
the value of football. One of the key
findings was that the work done by
volunteers equates to the work of
more than 9,000 full-time employees,
for a total value of more than 4 billion
Danish krone (approximately €557m)
a year. Volunteers put in between half
an hour and six hours at their local clubs
every week, adding up to 17.5 million
hours a year.
The head of grassroots football at the
Danish FA, Bent Clausen, is happy that the
study provides concrete facts and figures
for what was previously just a guesstimate
within Danish football. “Football makes
a unique contribution to Danish society.
With the study, we can show how much
value the local football clubs create for
everyone in society, not just for all of us
who love the beautiful game,” he said.
The results of study are available for all
Danish football clubs to use. Thanks to
a new app, the clubs can also calculate
their own impact on society, including
the value of the work put in by their
volunteers and the health benefits the
clubs bring to local communities. Last
but not least, data on income and jobs
generated through the purchase of
football boots, sportswear and equipment
will also be published.
The data will be an invaluable tool for
clubs in persuading local politicians and
other stakeholders of the need for clubs
to benefit from public funding in order
to continue to fulfil their vital role in the
local community.
St George’s Park celebrated
its fifth anniversary in October.
Over the course of these five
years, the likes of Barcelona and Benfica
have trained there, while the home
of England’s 28 national teams has
also hosted the European Women’s
Under-17 Championship finals,
European Under-17 Championship
elite rounds, CPISRA Cerebral Palsy
World Championships and the FA
Disability Cup.
A short ceremony unveiling the
recently named Sir Bobby Charlton
pitch, to coincide with the 80th birthday
of 1966 World Cup-winning legend,
kick-started the fifth-anniversary
celebrations. Sir Bobby was on hand
for the inauguration of the pitch named
in his honour. After being presented
with a shirt signed by the current senior
squad, Sir Bobby then watched Gareth
Southgate and his squad train in
preparation for their European Qualifiers
against Slovenia and Lithuania.
The FA
A total of 2,084 community clubs and
groups have played on-site since the
national football centre opened and,
to mark its anniversary, a five-hour
five-a-side community football
tournament took place in the centre’s
futsal hall on 9 October. The participating
teams included William Shrewsbury
Primary School, De Ferrers Academy,
Paulet High School, Wolgarston High
School, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue
Service and Staffordshire Police – all of
whom had used the facility in some
capacity previously. The celebration also
provided an opportunity to reflect on
the venue’s impact on FA education.
Wayne Allison, The FA’s BAME (black,
Asian and minority ethnic) project
manager, has witnessed the centre’s
benefits first-hand. He said: “The
opening of St George’s Park and the
development of the coaching competency
framework is proof of how much The FA
is committed to coach development.
The framework has led to the redesigning
of all The FA coaching courses, which has
culminated in the design of a new,
coherent coach development pathway.”
UEFA DIRECT • December 2017 – 47
The Estonian Football Association
(EJL) is working hard to increase
the number of women and
girls in football and create more chances
for them to get involved. This year, more
than 900 girls were able to enjoy
different football activities and games
around the country.
Football festivals were held in ten
cities, where girls spent a day taking
part in fun activities and football-related
games under the supervision of qualified
coaches. Nine of the festivals took place
between March and October, while the
tenth was organised by the EJL in
September as part of its Football Unites
2017 project.
“I am happy that we have been able
to generate so much excitement and
offer so many girls the opportunity to get
to know the game. It was nice to see
how much joy the festivals brought to
the children. We hope to reach more girls
in the future and hopefully make them
Brit Maria Tael
love football,” said EJL general secretary
Anne Rei.
In other women’s football news,
following the resignation in October of
women’s national team head coach
Indrek Zelinski, the EJL is looking for
someone to take over the role and
become the driving force behind efforts
to increase the number of female players.
Outlining the EJL’s short-term aims,
Rei said: “The priority over the next
couple of years is to keep organising
festivals to increase the number of
female players. The aim is to continue
structuring the top clubs through a
well-prepared licensing process and
continuous work and communication.
Our vision is for the new head coach
to be responsible for developing this
process further.”
at home to EB/Streymur, and runners-up
KÍ Klaksvík won their final game to
bring the two teams level on points,
Víkingur won the title thanks to their
better goal difference.
The Faroese season came to a
close recently and saw Víkingur
crowned league champions for
the second year running. Although they
lost their final game of the season 2-1
48 – UEFA DIRECT • December 2017
Last season Víkingur won the title
for the first time in the club’s short
history. Now everyone is waiting to
see if they can make it three in a row
next season. Both of their league titles
have been won under coach Sámal
Erik Hentze, who has something of
a reputation, having won the
championship four times with three
different clubs in the past eight years.
However, next season Víkingur will
have to compete for the title under
a new coach as Hentze has decided
to retire.
The women’s championship has
also been decided, with EB/StreymurSkála coming out on top and, in the
process, putting an end to KÍ
Klaksvík’s record-breaking streak
of 17 league titles.
France have made history by
qualifying for Futsal EURO 2018,
which will be held in Slovenia
from 30 January to 10 February next
year and will mark Les Bleus’ debut in
the final tournament of an international
futsal competition.
Having finished runners-up in their
main round group back in April, Pierre
Jacky’s players earned a place in the
play-offs in September, where they faced
Croatia, a team with plenty of finaltournament experience and ranked 11th
in the world. The first leg was a tightly
fought match that ended in a 1-1 draw
in front of more than 3,800 fans, a record
home attendance for the French side.
Two weeks later, the team headed to
Dubrovnik for the away leg – a spectacular
match that more than lived up to
expectations. After trailing twice but
managing to pull back level, Les Bleus
gradually got the upper hand thanks to
their excellent teamwork and two goals by
Landry N’Gala. The Croatians levelled the
score again at 4-4, with just 16 seconds
to go, only for N’Gala to complete his
hat-trick in the dying moments and send
the French through with a 5-4 win.
This historic qualification is a wellearned reward for the players, the majority
of whom are amateurs who train after
work. Their success also looks set to have
a big impact on the development of
futsal in France, with the national technical
director, Hubert Fournier, having already
announced plans to develop France’s
domestic futsal league structure and
create a national futsal centre.
It is not just World Cups and
EUROs that have a positive
impact in the host countries.
A recent study shows that successful
youth competition final tournaments also
bring significant benefits. The Accadis
University of Applied Sciences in Bad
Homburg used last year’s European
Under-19 Championship final tournament
to examine how hosting a youth
competition final tournament can benefit
the host association, in this case the
German Football Association (DFB).
The study shows that the tournament
in Baden-Württemberg enabled the DFB
to improve its public image by almost
15%. According to the DFB’s tournament
director for the event, Kyung-Yiub Lee,
the research indicates that UEFA youth
final tournaments have a positive impact
on the image of the host association as a
Getty Images
whole. The researchers also praise the
school programme organised alongside
the tournament, which resulted in many
youngsters joining their local clubs.
Moreover, international youth matches
are attracting ever more spectators.
Between 2012 and 2014, an average
of 1,760 fans attended men’s and
women’s Under-17 and Under-19
internationals. By 2017, that number
had risen to 2,707 and by all accounts
it will not stop there.
UEFA DIRECT • December 2017 – 49
A team of Gibraltar Football
Association match officials took
charge of the European Under 21
Championship qualifying match between
Liechtenstein and Wales in Liechtenstein
at the beginning of October. Jason
Barcelo was the referee, with Johan
Ward and Andrew Parody acting as
assistant referees and Yaroslaff Borg as
fourth official. It was the first time that
match officials from Gibraltar had been
appointed for a national team match
and it was therefore a momentous
occasion as well as a huge achievement.
The Gibraltar FA’s refereeing manager,
Adrian Bacarisa, was understandably
proud of their achievements: “We are
ending our first year with our FIFA-listed
match officials involved in a number of
UEFA matches, ranging from Under-17
and Under-21 fixtures to a Europa League
qualifying match and a Futsal Cup
preliminary round mini-tournament.
Our international match officials have
embraced these appointments to develop
their refereeing skills, learn from the
experience and adapt to modern trends.
We are all looking forward to more
international appointments coming
our way soon.”
The Israel Football Association
(IFA) has launched its first national
edition of the UEFA Certificate in
Football Management (UEFA CFM). The
nine-month course combines e-learning
modules and three face-to-face seminars,
the first of which was held at the national
team complex in Shefayim. With several
editions taking place each year, the
course is run in cooperation with UEFA
and the University of Lausanne in
Switzerland and is designed to provide
middle managers from UEFA member
associations with advanced knowledge
of football management.
In addition to local participants,
managers from other UEFA member
associations are also following the IFA
course, during which they will be able
to develop and consolidate their
theoretical and practical knowledge of
football management, learn new skills
and share management techniques and
best practices, thereby strengthening the
football community throughout Europe.
50 – UEFA DIRECT • December 2017
The subjects studied include football
organisation, strategy and strategic
management, marketing and sponsorship,
communications, media and public
relations, and event and volunteer
management. The next seminar will
take place in January at the Sammy Ofer
Stadium in Haifa and the final one will
take place in Jerusalem at Teddy Stadium.
Outside of these face-to-face gatherings,
students will have to complete
assignments and tests online.
“This is a great opportunity to bring
together people from different places for
whom football is more than just a game
they love – it’s also a profession,” said
Rotem Kamer, chief executive of the
IFA. “This combination of business
and love for the game is a promising
recipe for success. This course, along
with other courses down the line,
are designed to ensure the most
advanced and effective management
of the game, thereby benefiting the
associations, the teams and, of course,
the fans. Together with UEFA, the Israel
Football Association attaches great
importance to investing in those
involved in the challenging task of
promoting the game.”
Winning projects were selected for each
of the two categories. ‘Action Mining’,
the winning match analysis innovation,
proposed an algorithm for extracting and
analysing match data in near real time,
which allocates a ‘danger index’ to each
phase of play based on the likelihood of it
resulting in a scoring chance being created.
The other winning idea explored the
possibility of replacing traditional methods
for clocking in with a near-field
communication (NFC) system that would
provide parents and coaches of younger
players – who make up 63% of the
individuals registered with the federation
– with real-time updates of children’s
whereabouts, and record post-match
interactions between opposing players.
Each winning team was presented with
a cheque for €5,000.
The weekend programme also
included a series of talks that took a
progressive and innovative look at key
issues faced by the world of football.
There were enthusiastic contributions
from coaches, journalists and sportsmen
and women, as well as from invited
delegates from national football
associations around Europe and
representatives from other footballing
organisations in Italy and abroad.
“For us, the hackathon is a bridge to
the future,” said the FIGC chief executive,
Michele Uva, who was clearly satisfied
with how the event had gone. “For
instance, it is vital for us to communicate
effectively with not only the 1.4 million
players, coaches, referees and club officials
who are registered with the FIGC, but
also the 35 million fans of Italy’s national
teams. This hackathon is a first for [Italian]
football. For the federation, it represents
an investment in ideas and technology,
but it has also caught the imagination
of other national associations, fans,
institutions and the ‘hacker’ community.
“The workshops and projects were of
the highest quality, and prove that we
were right to take this path. We will
undoubtedly run another event of this
kind to explore, among other topics,
the video assistant referee (VAR) system.
More than ever, the federation’s policies
and strategies are geared towards the
future development of our sport, as well
as engaging with what is happening
beyond the world of Italian football.
We are aware that both financial
investment and new ideas are essential
for the future of the game.”
In October, the city of Trento played
host to the first-ever Italian football
hackathon, a full weekend of
research and innovation devoted to
exploring new ways of taking Italian
football forward. The event was organised
by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) in
conjunction with the autonomous region
of Trento and a number of other partners.
Over 400 ‘hackers’ registered to take
part. Of those, 158 were selected to
participate in the ‘total innovation’
challenge, in which teams competed
against each other to devise ways to
harness new technologies to benefit the
world of football. The groups were able
to choose one of two themes: relationships
and interactions between the FIGC and
registered players, coaches, referees and
club officials; and optimising the use of
‘big data’ in football, particularly in
match analysis.
Before the groups set about tackling
these topics, the FIGC president, Carlo
Tavecchio, explained the thinking behind
the hackathon: “The federation is
committed to modernising football in Italy,”
he said. “We have made some progress
through our internal reforms and
rebranding, but we are also opening the
door to other organisations and companies,
from the world of football and beyond,
as we search for new avenues and ideas.”
For the second year in a row,
FK Spartaks Jūrmala are the
champions of Latvia, securing top
spot in the championship with one round
still to play.
The team from seaside resort of Jūrmala
have been in the top division for six years.
Before winning the championship for the
first time in 2016, their previous best
achievement was fifth place (in 2012
and 2015).
Currently coached by Lithuanian Valdas
Urbonas, the team consists of several
Latvian internationals as well as players
from Belarus, Croatia, Russia, Ukraine
and Uzbekistan.
“To defend a title is twice as hard as
winning it. To become champions in such
a tough league is a big achievement.
It is a true cause for celebration,” said
Urbonas, who is the club’s third coach this
season. “It was a great challenge for me.
Without the trust and dedication of the
players, it would not have been possible.”
UEFA DIRECT • December 2017 – 51
The Liechtenstein Football
Association (LFV) held its fourth
annual girls’ football camp from
16 to 20 October. More than 50 girls aged
between 7 and 15 – a new record –
enjoyed a packed five-day programme of
football activities under the guidance of
Selina Ruckstuhl, the LFV’s women’s
football director.
The camp aims to offer the girls a fun
introduction to football through a wide
range of activities, and thus to further
promote the women’s game at grassroots
level. Since only 200 or so girls and
women currently play club football in
Liechtenstein, it has not yet been possible
to form a senior national team to
participate in international competitions.
The situation is different at youth level,
however, where an Under-16 national
team has already taken part in three UEFA
development tournaments and is now
moving up to the Under-19 age category.
In 2018, it will become the first LFV
women’s team to participate in a European
Championship qualifying competition.
If the women’s game continues to grow
as it has in recent years, it will surely not
be long before Liechtenstein has its own
senior national side.
D. Aquilina
Belgian Tom Saintfiet has been
appointed as the new national
coach of Malta. He takes over
from Italian Pietro Ghedin, whose
Tom Saintfiet and Norman Darmanin Demajo
52 – UEFA DIRECT • December 2017
five-and-a-half-year tenure came to an
end after the team’s final 2018 World
Cup qualifier against Slovakia in Trnava
on 8 October.
Saintfiet, 44, is a UEFA Pro licence
holder with a wealth of experience in
international football, having worked as
national coach of several countries, mostly
in Africa and Asia. He was handed the job
after emerging as the standout candidate
in a thorough evaluation exercise carried
out by the Malta Football Association’s
technical department.
“Saintfiet’s footballing knowledge and
qualifications, combined with his vast
experience in international football and
coaching developing nations, made him
the outstanding candidate for the post
of Malta coach,” said Norman Darmanin
Demajo, president of the Malta FA.
“We are pleased that Saintfiet has
accepted our offer to become national
coach and we are convinced that he will
do an excellent job both for the national
side and as a prominent member of our
technical sector,” he added.
On being appointed, Saintfiet, who
took up coaching at the early age of 24
after his playing career was cut short by
injuries, said: “I’m honoured to be the
new national coach of Malta. My
ambition is to help the Maltese national
team move forward and also assist in
the long-term development of Maltese
football at all levels, with the backing of
all stakeholders.”
As well as being a top coach,
Saintfiet has also written a book,
Trainer Zonder Grenzen (Coach
Without Borders).
Nicolai Cebotari
and Otilia Sîrbu
In recognition of its social
projects for the benefit of
vulnerable children, the nongovernmental organisation Concordia
was chosen as one of the recipients
of the 2017 UEFA Foundation for
Children Award.
The organisation was set up in 2004 to
facilitate the integration of disadvantaged
people into society, protect their rights
and provide assistance when required.
Since then, the organisation has helped
more than 11,000 children, provided
shelter for more than 240 orphans
and vulnerable families, provided
accommodation to more than 400 elderly
people in its social centres, and provided
more than 3.5 million hot meals to people
in need.
Concordia’s executive director, Otilia
Sîrbu, was delighted to accept the award
at the Moldovan FA’s headquarters: “We
are thrilled to have been selected for a
2017 UEFA Foundation for Children
Award. The prize money will allow us to
implement a new social project aimed at
promoting a healthy and active lifestyle
among young people, especially those
living in rural areas. We plan to build
new playgrounds, sports facilities and
Concordia centres. We will also buy
equipment for our youth football teams
and organise football matches and other
sports activities.”
Nicolai Cebotari, general secretary
of the Moldovan FA, praised the
new project: “We applaud and fully
support Concordia in this vital
initiative, and we are very happy that
football is being used again as a way
to bring happiness and hope to those
in need.”
Girls born between 2007 and
2009 are being encouraged to
give football a go at new skills
centres across Northern Ireland. The Irish
Football Association’s girls’ regional
development centres aim to provide a fun
and friendly environment in which girls
can improve their football skills. Centres
have been set up in Enniskillen, Bangor,
Ballynahinch, Cookstown, Larne, Belfast,
Ballymoney, Londonderry and Portadown.
Marissa Callaghan, captain of the
Northern Ireland women’s football team
and one of the Irish FA’s women’s football
ambassadors, explains: “Through the
programme we want to give girls the
opportunity to progress to our county
excellence centres and to provide a clear
pathway for girls to excel in our sport.
Girls don’t have to be associated with
a club to come along.”
Staying with the topic of women’s
football, several players from established
clubs in Northern Ireland have signed up
for new regional futsal leagues across the
country in order to help themselves to
stay fit during the close season. Every
Friday evening between now and the end
of January, teams will compete in leagues
in Belfast, Lisburn and Portadown.
The winners of each regional league
will play in national finals in February,
with the champions going on to
represent Northern Ireland in the first
Women’s Futsal Home Nations
UEFA DIRECT • December 2017 – 53
The Football Association of
Ireland (FAI) has announced
the clubs participating in a new
initiative, ‘More than a club’, which aims to
help clubs to develop their links with local
communities. Bohemian FC and Cork City
FC were chosen from among the 11
league clubs that applied.
The project will be run by the FAI and
the Welsh social enterprise Vi-Ability,
with funding provided by the European
Regional Development Fund via the Ireland
Wales cooperation programme 2014–20.
Helping the selected clubs to recognise
and harness football’s potential to connect
with and benefit social programmes in
their local communities will in turn help
them to become more valuable and
relevant members of the community.
FAI project manager Derek O’Neill
said: “The FAI believes that engaging with
the community in a more inclusive way
can positively affect a football club’s
prospects of sustainability. Participating
in innovative community partnerships can
facilitate this. The FAI is delighted to have
secured this funding from the IrelandWales programme, which will be used
to help the two clubs to develop their
community remit.”
Fran Gavin, director of competitions,
added: “The consultation process report
recognised that, along with sporting and
business interests, community engagement
was another essential development pillar
of successful and sustainable football
clubs. The clubs’ five-year strategic
plans have shown a strong emphasis
on community engagement. This
community focus can serve to attract
new club stakeholders with more people,
businesses and agencies becoming
advocates of the clubs and admirers of
the programmes which they can deliver.
The clubs can become more than just
football teams and be more relevant to
more people within their communities.”
The project will start immediately,
with the FAI making funds available
to both clubs to enable them each to
recruit two full-time football enterprise
coordinators for a period of 18 months.
The FAI’s project management team will
also provide guidance on how to develop
the football enterprise scheme and the
social programmes.
Chris Brien from Bohemian FC said:
“Bohemian FC are delighted to participate
in the project. It will allow us to
significantly expand the excellent
community work we are already doing
in our catchment area.”
Shane O’Connor of Cork City FC added:
“We’re delighted to be included in the
project, which will allow us to continue
to improve on the good work in the
community that our supporters’ trust
and Cork City have been involved in
over the past few years.”
The Youth Council is a unique
sports leadership platform created
by the Romanian Football
Federation (FRF) and the Friedrich
Naumann Foundation. It gives young
people a voice in society and an
opportunity to share, discuss and develop
ideas for community development projects
that capitalise on the universal values of
sport, and football in particular.
Following the success of the first Youth
Council held in June, the FRF recently
hosted the second edition at its national
football centre in Buftea. Twenty-five
participants aged between 18 and 29
came from across the country to discuss
footballing values such as fair play, team
spirit, leadership, responsibility, respect
54 – UEFA DIRECT • December 2017
and friendship during training sessions on
project management, communications,
strategy and marketing. Those in
attendance also got involved in a number
of football-related activities organised by
FRF staff. The FRF president, Răzvan
Burleanu, said: “Football is a special
phenomenon that has the capacity to
bring about change and progress in
society. For the Romanian Football
Federation, the role of the Youth Council is
to come up with new ideas, to promote
change and to place football and its values
at the centre of community development.”
Everyone who took part in the Youth
Council had to first apply for a place by
sending their CV, a motivation letter and
an essay in response to one of the
following three questions: How can
we use football to stimulate youth
development? What impact do footballing
values have on society? What changes
could you make within your community
using football?
As well as hearing from FRF staff and
other local contributors, the second Youth
Council welcomed experts from outside
Romania. “The Youth Council can be seen
as a door to the future,” one of the
participants said.
Even though the seminar itself ended on
27 September, the work of the Youth
Council continues, with the FRF providing
ongoing support to help the participants
implement the projects discussed within
their own communities.
RUSSIA www.rfs.ru
On 24 October, Russian football
celebrated a landmark date – the
120th anniversary of its founding.
On this day in 1897, the first listed football
match in Russia took place, as reported on
in the domestic print media. The game
between the teams of St Petersburg
Amateur Sports Club and the
Vasileostrovsky community of footballers
ended in a 6-0 win for the Vasileostrovsky
The first official football body in the
country, the All-Russia Football Union, was
established on 19 January 1912 and became
affiliated to FIFA in the same year. Two of its
officers, Georges Duperron and Robert
Fulda, were also elected to the Executive
Committee of world football’s governing
body. The establishment of an organisation
that would develop football was fully
justified as the game had started to become
very popular in the country. The All-Russian
Football Union was founded on the eve of
the Olympic Games in Stockholm, which
was the first Olympiad in which a Russian
national football team participated.
Football continued to develop during
the Soviet era, and on 27 December 1934,
the Football Federation of the USSR was
established under the leadership of Valentin
Granatkin, a FIFA vice-president. The senior
USSR national team achieved some great
victories on the international scene. They
won the Olympic Games in 1956 and 1988,
and in 1960 beat Yugoslavia 2-1 to win the
first-ever European Nations’ Cup (now the
European Football Championship). In 1966
the national team finished fourth in the
World Cup. The national youth team
won the European Under-21 (U23)
Championship three times (in 1976, 1980,
1990), and in 1977 took the honours in the
U-20 World Cup.
On 8 February 1992, the Football
Union of Russia was founded and took
over responsibility for the development of
football in the country. Over the years,
types of football not played during the Soviet
era (women’s football, futsal and beach
soccer) gained recognition in Russia. The
fans were happy to have so many teams,
and successful ones at that. In 2008, the
Russian senior team reached the semi-finals
at EURO 2008 in Austria and Switzerland.
Three years earlier, in 2005, the women’s
Under-19 team won the European Women’s
Under-19 Championship in Hungary. In
2006 and 2013, the men’s Under-17s
won their European Championship.
The national men’s and women’s futsal
teams have also won their share of
honours at international level, while
the Russian beach soccer team has twice
won the Beach Soccer World Cup (in 2011
and 2013).
Not to forget the successes of Russian
clubs, PFC CSKA Moskva and FC Zenit St
Petersburg won the UEFA Cup in 2005
and 2008 respectively.
Coming right up to date, Russia is now
preparing to host the 2018 World Cup. As
part of those preparations, the country
hosted the FIFA Confederations Cup this
summer. From 14 June to 15 July next
year, 11 cities (Moscow, St Petersburg,
Kazan, Kaliningrad, Sochi, Rostov on Don,
Volgograd, Saransk, Samara, Nizhny
Novgorod and Ekaterinburg) will be
hosting World Cup matches.
Looking further ahead, St Petersburg
will be one of the host cities for EURO
2020. Rolling forward 120 years since
its foundation, Russian football is still
making history.
October was an especially
busy month for the San Marino
Football Federation (FSGC) both
on and off the field. Following the visit of
the UEFA president, Aleksander Čeferin,
on the last Monday in September, the
federation welcomed his FIFA counterpart,
Gianni Infantino, on 5 October.
The FIFA president was received by
San Marino’s heads of state, Matteo
Fiorini and Enrico Carattoni, who
appointed him as a commander of the
order of Saint Agatha. The FIFA president
then made his way to the San Marino
Stadium, where he met with members of
the federation’s assembly, which includes
representatives of all FSGC-affiliated clubs
and associations. Delivering a message
that will be warmly received in San Marino
and other countries of similar size and
status, he said it was “vital that smaller
national associations are afforded the
same respect as the game’s major
global powers.”
Turning to off-the-field matters, the
FSGC president, Marco Tura, said: “Both
UEFA and FIFA hold San Marino in the
highest regard, not least because we have
embraced the agendas and initiatives of
the presidents of both organisations and
taken every opportunity to support their
efforts to reform world football when we
could have taken a back seat. This goes a
long way to explaining why the excellent
relationships we have enjoyed with UEFA
and FIFA for some time have become
even stronger in recent years.”
UEFA DIRECT • December 2017 – 55
The UEFA president, Aleksander
Čeferin, visited Hampden Park
at the start of October following
the successful completion of the first
phase of stadium development works
for EURO 2020.
The UEFA president was at Hampden
Park with the president of the Scottish FA,
Alan McRae, the association’s chief
executive, Stewart Regan, Scottish
government minister for public health and
sport, Aileen Campbell, and deputy leader
of Glasgow city council, David McDonald,
as well as the members of the board of
the Scottish FA and of the EURO 2020
local organising structure.
Hampden Park will play host to three
group matches and a round of 16 game
during EURO 2020, which will be held
in 13 different cities across Europe.
In preparation for the tournament,
new LED giant screens have been installed
inside Hampden Park, in addition to 26
new sky boxes that have been constructed
across the south stand. Two sky lounges
have also been fitted out in the north
Aleksander Čeferin
Scottish FA
stand to enhance the hospitality
experience in line with the tournament
The UEFA president toured Hampden
Park to learn more about the history
of the stadium and Scottish football.
In conjunction with the Scottish
government’s Women and Girls in Sport
Week, he also met players and staff
from the Pollok United Soccer Academy
in connection with UEFA’s #EqualGame
campaign to promote inclusion, diversity
and accessibility in football throughout
Europe. Pollok United has a thriving girls’
section, led by Jane Lavery, who won the
merit award for services to grassroots
football at this year’s Scottish FA
grassroots awards.
“EURO 2020 will be an exceptional
tournament with 13 countries all
contributing to hosting the
competition,” the UEFA president
said. “Glasgow is a fantastic
footballing city steeped in tradition
and Hampden Park will provide the
perfect setting for four matches.
I enjoyed visiting Pollok United in
Glasgow’s South Side and seeing
the impressive work being done by
grassroots clubs in Scotland.”
Serbia have qualified for next year’s
World Cup in Russia, rounding off
a fantastic year for the Football
Association of Serbia (FAS) – its best for
eight years, when Serbia last qualified for
the World Cup.
Congratulating head coach Slavoljub
Muslin and his players on their amazing
achievement, Slaviša Kokeza, president
of the FAS, said: “The national team’s
qualification for the World Cup was my
first goal as FAS president. My second
goal is to purchase a headquarters for
the association, the third is to build a
new stadium, and the fourth, and
perhaps the most important for the
prosperity of Serbian football, is to
enable the privatisation of football clubs.”
56 – UEFA DIRECT • December 2017
The senior national team’s qualification
for next summer’s World Cup is the
crowning achievement among several
excellent results achieved by Serbia’s
other national teams.
“The Under-19 and Under-17 teams
made it through to the final stages of the
qualifying competitions in their respective
European championships, and we can be
proud of the fact that our women’s teams
at those age levels did the same.
“Congratulations also to our Under-21
team, who have started well in their
qualifiers for the European Under-21
Championship final round in Italy. With
one match less and two points more than
their closest competitors, we have good
reason to remain optimistic,” said Goran
Slaviša Kokeza
Bunjevčević, sports director of the FAS.
Spurred on by these great results
achieved by all its national teams, the
FAS has been investing in infrastructure,
undertaking renovation work, building
artificial pitches and donating equipment
to clubs in the lower leagues. More than
600 clubs throughout the country, mainly
those which need the help most, have
been given shirts, balls, football boots
and other kit needed to ensure that
players in younger age categories can
progress and develop their skills in the
best possible conditions.
SLOVAKIA www.futbalsfz.sk
individually.” His philosophy paid
off: that year, the Maldives beat
India in the final to become South
Asian champions – their greatest
footballing achievement ever.
“I started thinking about ending
my coaching career in my sixties,
but those around me convinced
me that I still had a lot to offer. And so
I continued.” Jankech went on to receive
the coach of the year award in Slovakia
at the age of 72.
He is one of the most respected figures
in Slovakian football, a living legend.
Inducted into the hall of fame of Trencin
football and an honorary inductee of
Slovakian football’s hall of fame, the list
of clubs he has coached in his time is
impressive: TŽ Třinec, VSS Košice,
Lokomotíva Košice on three different
occasions, Strojárne Martin, FC Nea
Salamina in Cyprus, MŠK Žilina, TTS
Trenčín, Slovan Bratislava, Kuala Lumpur
FA in Malaysia, Jednota VSS Košice, Inter
Bratislava, Slovan Levice on two occasions,
Qatar SC, the Slovak national team,
Dubnica, the Maldives national team
and Dukla Banská Bystrica. He ended his
coaching career at Slovan Bratislava at
the age of 73.
“My coaching career lasted 45
years and that´s a long time. It will
be a strange feeling not to come
to training and sit on the bench.
I hope I can stay healthy for a few
more years,” he said when calling
it a day.
Jankech coached no fewer than
600 matches in the Slovak top flight,
which is some achievement and does not
take into account his ten years of coaching
abroad, his time as Slovakia’s head coach
or his spells with second-division teams.
Altogether, his coaching record stretches
to more than 1,000 matches. None of the
teams he coached were ever relegated
under his watch, and he won promotion
with Třinec, Lokomotíva Košice, Dubnica
and Slovan. In 1979, he won the
Czechoslovak Cup with Lokomotíva Košice.
When asked whether he was thinking
about writing a book about his life in
football, he answered: “No, because only
a few readers would be interested. There
are a lot of people like me in this world.”
We would tend to disagree. There are
many football coaches in the world,
but there is only one Jozef Jankech –
a fantastic coach and, moreover, a
great person.
In 1997, Jozef Jankech celebrated
his 60th birthday as Slovakia’s
national team coach. Ten years
later, he celebrated his 70th birthday as
coach of another national team, the
Maldives. This year, on 24 October, he
toasted his 80th birthday in the Slovakian
city of Trencin, where he now lives.
Jankech was a fantastic right-winger
who played a big part in Trencin’s golden
era during the 1960s, when Jednota
Trenčín finished second (1963) and third
(1968) in the Czechoslovakian top flight.
After hanging up his boots, he
embarked on what was to be a long and
illustrious coaching career, which lasted
until autumn 2010. He coached all of
Slovakia’s best-known teams, in addition
to spending long spells with clubs abroad.
At international level, Jankech was head
coach of the Slovakia national team for
more than three years (from July 1995 to
October 1998), presiding over 34 official
international matches and clocking up
an average of 1.74 points per game.
He was not a man of habit. When
preparing the Maldives national team for
the South Asian Football Federation Cup
in 2008, he said: “Routine is the worst –
I always prepare for every training session
significantly underrepresented in Swedish
sport, including football. One reason is
that some of these girls have parents who
do not allow their daughters to take part
in any activities due to outdated norms of
honour-shame culture. We want to change
that. Football has a unique way of
reaching people and teaching values of
equality and democracy,” Sevana says.
Since last year, Sevana has been
employed by the Swedish FA as an
integration manager, heading the
association’s work on diversity and
inclusion in football. Now her efforts
When Sevana Bergström was eight
years old, she just wanted to play
football, but her parents said it was
not for girls. After she had overcome her
own struggles and played football at elite
level, she set out to help other girls who
were being held back by society. She
started one of Sweden’s leading
organisations working against ‘honour’based violence and for the rights of girls.
Through grassroots football for girls, her
organisation and the Ronjabollen project
have empowered girls all over Sweden.
”Girls with both parents born abroad are
are being recognised internationally and
she has been invited to give a TEDx talk
in November. Sevana Bergström’s TEDx
talk will be available on ted.com from
25 November.
UEFA DIRECT • December 2017 – 57
supporting each other through times
of disappointment.
The Swiss FA also helps girls who
love watching football to decide whether
to take up the game themselves. When
weighing up whether football is the
right choice for them, they are asked to
consider the following three questions:
Do I love being outside in the fresh air?
Do I like being with my friends and getting
to know new people? Would I enjoy
playing football as part of a team?
If they can answer ‘yes’ to all three
questions, they should take the plunge.
They can find out which clubs have girls’
and women’s teams on the Swiss FA’s
website (www.football.ch) and take the
first step of attending their first training
session, which will hopefully be the first
of many.
The Swiss Football
Association has been actively
promoting girls’ and women’s
football for many years. The Swiss
women’s national team’s recent successes
in qualifying for the Women’s World Cup
and Women’s EURO 2017 owe much to
the way in which the Swiss FA supports
and nurtures the sport at grassroots as
well as elite level, encouraging girls to play
football from a very young age.
When a young girl first joins a football
club, whether she will go on to emulate
stars such as Lara Dickenmann, Ana-Maria
Crnogorčević or Ramona Bachmann is
anyone’s guess. Much more important,
however, is the enjoyment she will get
from playing, being with her team-mates,
sharing with them the highs and lows,
celebrating successes together and
More than 80 girls aged 11 to 13 from
different parts of the country, including
those affected by the armed conflict in
eastern Ukraine, participated in the
tournament, the first of its kind in
Ukraine. In the final, the Kyiv team
clinched victory over the team from
Pavlo Kubanov
The Football Federation of Ukraine
(FFU), with the support of the
German Development Bank (KfW)
and the United Nations Children’s Fund
(UNICEF) in Ukraine, held a football
tournament dedicated to the International
Day of the Girl on 11 October.
58 – UEFA DIRECT • December 2017
Rivne in a penalty shoot-out. In the
match for third place, Kharkiv beat
Mykolaiv 2-0. Teams from the
Ternopil, Chernihiv, Donetsk and
Cherkasy regions also took part.
Laura Bill, deputy head of UNICEF’s
representative office in Ukraine, said
that the organisation of such girls’
competitions helped to dispel the
existing stereotypes of football being
a boy’s game. “UNICEF stands for
equal rights for every child. Therefore,
it is very important for us that girls
and boys have equal rights and
opportunities in society, and can
realise their dreams,” she said.
Medals, balls and other prizes
were presented by the FFU general
secretary, Yuri Zapisotskyi, FC
Shakhtar Donetsk goalkeeper Mykyta
Shevchenko, the head coach of
Ukraine’s boys’ Under-17 team, Serhiy
Popov, and female internationals Vira
Dyatel and Iryna Vasilyuk.
John Ferry (Northern Ireland, 1 December)
Sergei Roumas (Belarus, 1 December)
David Griffiths (Wales, 2 December)
Carmel Agius (Malta, 2 December)
Ligita Ziedone (Latvia, 2 December)
Sean Dipple (England, 3 December) 60th
Juan Antonio Fernández Marin
(Spain, 3 December) 60th
Gylfi Thór Orrason (Iceland, 3 December)
Josipa Flam (Croatia, 3 December)
Janusz Basałaj (Poland, 4 December)
Miroslav Liba (Czech Republic, 4 December)
Georg Lüchinger (Liechtenstein, 4 December)
Adrian Ixari (Moldova, 4 December)
Desislava Ralkova (Bulgaria, 4 December)
Christiaan Van Puyvelde
(Belgium, 5 December)
Christiaan Timmermans
(Belgium, 6 December)
Heather Rabbatts (England, 6 December)
António Manuel Almeida Costa
(Portugal, 6 December)
Alberto Pacchioni (San Marino, 6 December)
Pavel Saliy (Kazakhstan, 6 December) 50th
Marko Simeunovič
(Slovenia, 6 December) 50th
Stilian Shishkov (Bulgaria, 6 December)
Andrea Agnelli (Italy, 6 December)
Andreas Akkelides (Cyprus, 7 December)
Ray Ellingham (Wales, 7 December)
Johan van Geijn (Netherlands, 7 December)
Raili Ellermaa (Estonia, 7 December) 50th
Andrea Manzella (Italy, 8 December)
Michel D’Hooghe (Belgium, 8 December)
Konstantin Sonin (Russia, 8 December)
Les Reed (England, 9 December)
Martin Ingvarsson (Sweden, 9 December)
Florea Cristina Babadac
(Romania, 9 December)
Dušan Bajević
(Bosnia and Herzegovina, 10 December)
Christian Andreasen
(Faroe Islands, 10 December)
Laura McAllister (Wales, 10 December)
Alain Hamer (Luxembourg, 10 December)
Trefor Lloyd Hughes
(Wales, 11 December) 70th
Avi Levi (Israel, 11 December)
Ilcho Gjorgjioski
(FYR Macedonia, 11 December)
Alvaro Albino (Portugal, 12 December)
Fiona May (Italy, 12 December)
Esther Azzopardi Farrugia
(Malta, 12 December)
Ivan Anthony Robba (Gibraltar, 12 December)
Kaj Natri (Finland, 13 December) 70th
Stefan Messner (Austria, 13 December)
Stephan Kammerer (Germany, 13 December)
Björn Fecker (Germany, 13 December) 40th
António Mortágua (Portugal, 14 December)
Bülent Konuk (Germany, 14 December)
Ged Poynton (England, 15 December)
Dušan Svoboda (Czech Republic, 15 December)
Stefanie Schulte
(Germany, 15 December) 40th
Steve Stride (England, 16 December)
Stefano Pucci (Italy, 16 December)
Bobby Barnes (England, 17 December)
Michael Riley (England, 17 December)
Artan Hajdari (Albania, 17 December)
Kenneth Gronlund Rasmussen
(Denmark, 17 December)
Guntis Indriksons (Latvia, 18 December)
Niklas à Lidarenda
(Faroe Islands, 18 December)
Rainer Koch (Germany, 18 December)
Jacco Swart (Netherlands, 18 December)
Patrick Filipek (Czech Republic, 18 December)
Ludvik Georgsson (Iceland, 19 December)
Harri Talonen (Finland, 19 December) 60th
David Casserly
(Republic of Ireland, 19 December)
Amirzhan Tussupbekov
(Kazakhstan, 20 December)
José Nebot (Spain, 20 December)
Edgars Pukinsks (Latvia, 20 December)
Willie Young (Scotland, 21 December)
Bjarne Berntsen (Norway, 21 December)
José Henrique Da Costa Jones
(Portugal, 22 December) 60th
Olzhas Abrayev (Kazakhstan, 22 December)
Josef Geisler (Austria, 23 December)
Pia Hess-Bolkovac (Germany, 23 December)
László Vágner (Hungary, 24 December)
Irina Mirt (Romania, 24 December)
Noël Le Graët (France, 25 December)
Patritiu Abrudan (Romania, 25 December)
Laura Montgomery (Scotland, 25 December)
Nikola Mužíková
(Czech Republic, 25 December)
Guy Goethals (Belgium, 26 December)
Servet Yardımcı (Turkey, 26 December) 60th
Rudolf Repka (Czech Republic, 26 December)
Bernhard Heusler (Switzerland, 27 December)
Nils Fisketjonn (Norway, 27 December)
Dušan Tittel (Slovakia, 27 December)
Jaroslav Šišolák (Slovakia, 27 December)
Krisztina Varga (Hungary, 27 December)
Bernard Carrel
(Switzerland, 28 December) 80th
Martial Saugy (Switzerland, 28 December)
Otakar Mestek (Czech Republic, 28 December)
Evangelos Mazarakis (Greece, 29 December)
Anders Solheim (Norway, 29 December)
Dagmar Damková
(Czech Republic, 29 December)
Angelo Chetcuti (Malta, 29 December)
Berti Vogts (Germany, 30 December)
Wolfgang Thierrichter
(Austria, 30 December)
Matt Crocker (England, 30 December)
Jean Fournet-Fayard (France, 31 December)
Christian Moroge
(Switzerland, 31 December) 70th
David Findlay (Scotland, 31 December) 60th
Jens Larsen (Denmark, 31 December)
Emmanuel Orhant (France, 31 December)
Liene Kozlovska (Latvia, 31 December)
1 December, Moscow
2018 World Cup: draw
6 December, Nyon
2017/18 European Under-19
and Under-17 Championships:
elite round draws
2018/19 European Under-19 and Under-17
Championships: qualifying round draws
2018/19 UEFA Regions’ Cup: preliminary
and intermediate round draws
7 December, Nyon
Executive Committee
11 December, Nyon
UEFA Champions League: round of 16
UEFA Europa League: round of 32 draw
UEFA Youth League: play-off draw
5/6 December
UEFA Champions League: group matches
(matchday 6)
UEFA Youth League – UEFA Champions
League path: group matches (matchday 6)
6–16 December, United Arab Emirates
Club World Cup
7 December
UEFA Europa League: group matches
(matchday 6)
UEFA DIRECT • December 2017 – 59
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