UEFA's commitment to developing strong foundations for the technical development of football was again in evidence throughout 2015.
Coaches and coach educators came together for the biennial UEFA Coach Education Workshop in Bratislava in September, where the initial results of a study on the impact of the UEFA Coaching Convention across the member associations were presented. The workshop was on the theme of "building for the future", which was appropriate given the focus on tutor education and reality-based learning that will come in 2016.
Lars Lagerbäck gave a presentation to participants outlining his philosophies from over a decade and a half of international experience as a head coach, latterly including the historic qualification of Iceland for UEFA EURO 2016. Learning from the elite was also possible through the technical reports prepared by experts from the major club competitions and youth tournaments. 2015 brought the preparation of the first UEFA technical report from the UEFA Women's Champions League, expanding the range of materials available for specialists to see the trends of high-level football.
Practical sessions for development were also on the increase, with more goalkeeper and fitness activities, whilst Poland and Portugal became the first associations to have their courses at Futsal B level approved by UEFA.
UEFA's work with the associations to ensure the sustained, strong foundations for the grassroots game also continued. The rolling out of the updated UEFA Grassroots Charter was suggested as "a professionalising of the grassroots game" by UEFA grassroots ambassador Per Omdal in February, and each of the 54 member associations attended specific Study Group Scheme (SGS) workshops on the subject during the year.
UEFA also joined forces with the European Commission's Week of Sport to hold UEFA Grassroots Week in September. Promoting participation in football for a healthy lifestyle, events took place across Europe to mark the week and UEFA Grassroots Awards were given in three categories. Recognition for the best grassroots project went to Czech Republic, whilst Wales scooped the gold award for the best grassroots club and Lithuania took the honours for the best grassroots leader.
As part of Grassroots Week, a maxi-pitch was donated by UEFA to the city of Brussels as well as those inaugurated in Warsaw and Berlin ahead of the club competition finals, which ensured that those locals inspired by the biggest matches in European club football have the facilities on which to play football.