Irons Visits Brann Bergen For UEFA Pro License Module

In his match report for the Morton's 2-1 win over Stirling Albion the Greenock Telegraph's Roger Graham mentioned that Morton boss Davie Irons left for Norway on Sunday to visit SK Brann Bergen (their ground, the Brann stadion, is pictured left) as part of his UEFA pro license: "Irons left for Norway yesterday [Sunday] to undertake part of his pro license which involves a visit to a European club. "I'm away out to Brann Bergen," he said. "I''ll be taking my sunblock with me"."

I was interested to learn more about the UEFA Pro license after reading this. The extent of my knowledge on this qualification was that any manager who wants to manage a top level club in Europe must have it according to UEFA's coaching rules - and the only reason I knew that was when it was brought to my attention by the story revealing that Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate was given special dispensation to gain the qualification because he didn't have it when he took on the Boro hotseat.

After reading an excellent article on the BBC website I've found out that the award is more about management than coaching. To pass the course Davie Irons will have to prove - over the course of a year - that he can:

  • Plan and evaluate his team's strategic season programme
  • Succeed in one key fixture during the season
  • Improve the performance of one key player
  • Improve his own interpersonal skills
  • Build upon his existing coaching skills with specific emphasis

There are three major projects the coach in question must complete which are on the following topics: handling professional players, match-related training methods and analysis of a key fixture.

According to John Murphy (Colorado Rapids assistant manager in the MLS) - who is taking the qualification in Scotland - each national FA is allowed to run the license how they see fit. Of the SFA's method he says: "Within UEFA, there are minimum requirements across the board for all countries to adhere to, and various FA’s run their courses differently. As examples, England has many more conference calls where 2-3 coaches discuss assignments over the phone and email. Germany has several 5-day residential meetings to complete requirements. Since Scotland is such a small country, the SFA feels it is beneficial to meet more often face to face. There are 16 of us, mostly managers based in Scotland, several of them well known in the international game. We have met regularly for about once a month with 2-3 day modules."

Irons' trip to Norway is part of the 'study visit' module (1 of 16 modules). A stage at which the manager must travel to another European club (Brann Bergen in Davie's case) outwith his own country to get "a technical and structural overview of the club." At his final residential meeting in June he will present a debrief of his study visit.

This module appears to be one of the last a manager needs to complete to gain the license however the BBC article does say that the modules are flexible so Irons might not be at that stage yet. When he does complete the course he will be in some illustrious company - Arsene Wenger, Rafa Bentitez, Davie Moyes and Sven-Goran Eriksson are examples of managers who already hold the qualification. Roy Keane and Gareth Southgate are currently taking the course.

Hopefully Davie can use the knowledge gained on the course to keep us in the 1st division this season and then to challenge for the title next season. Then he can put his qualification to good use back in the SPL.


Read about the UEFA Pro License here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/6189330.stm

John Murphy on taking the license in Scotland: http://www.coloradorapids.com/news/NewsDetails.aspx?NID=xf+radZ0AiY=

UEFA's coaching convention: http://www.uefa.com/uefa/keytopics/kind=256/newsid=657322.html


Stevie Aitken's Love Child said...

Alright mate. With regards the Pro Licence, i recall Cowboy doing it when he was manager, as he went away during the summer after promotion to the 2nd division to Rio to study one of the Brazilian clubs (possibly Vasco da gama?)

Jonathan Mitchell said...

Yeah I remember that as well mate. It was Fluminese he went to.

I checked through some old programmes and in an Arthur Montford world of football article Cowboy refers to his trip as part of his 'European coaching certificate' - so you could well be right about it being for the Pro License.

Although I suppose it could have been for the 'B' or 'A' licenses you have to complete first.