The UEFA Experience: Working live with an audience from across Europe

Facilitating an international conference for 52 national associations

The opportunity

Hang around long enough and eventually, you get asked! My CV and any reputation played no part in getting me to work with UEFA. In this industry, it’s about networks and recommendations. I found myself in Nyon at the headquarters of UEFA and I was part of a team planning a radical change to how the bi-annual conference was to be delivered.

The preparation

I’ve been involved in two types of conference for UEFA. The Grassroots Conference has a different audience to the Coach Educators Conference. The titles are self-explanatory. The aim in both instances was to model practices and activities which could be replicated across the European Federations. Historically such events have been built around platform speeches and dissemination of information, to such an extent it was the default. Shifting this was the challenge. The Grassroots people are usually teachers, the Coach Educators former players.

The experience

The first move was to have an audience that was seated cabaret and not a theatre style. This was a radical departure and not as easy as it sounds. There’s a language issue. Some nations get along better than others, so which four nations do you put together on each table? Then there are the activities. The teachers tend to be up for it, the ex-players less so depending on where they’re from. In my experience, cultural and historical differences emerge.