UEFA Pro Licence
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The UEFA Pro Licence is a coaching licence from UEFA (the governing body of football in Europe). The UEFA Pro Licence is the final coaching qualification available, and follows the completion of the UEFA 'B' and 'A' Licences.
A UEFA Pro Licence is required by anyone who wishes to manage a football club in the top level of the nation's league system on a permanent basis (i.e. more than 12 weeks – the amount of time an unqualified caretaker manager is allowed to take control). This applies to both the head coach or team manager, and such a licence is also required to manage in the UEFA Champions League or UEFA Europa League.
Each current manager of a top-flight team in Europe was set a deadline of 2010 to acquire the licence, or else face losing his post.
The course contains workshops involving topics from fitness to injury prevention and player agents to transfer protocols. There are three levels of progression, with each focusing on more in-depth detail.
Although The Football Association has granted a few extensions, all then-current managers had until 2010. It was introduced following agreement between the Premier League, Professional Footballers' Association and League Managers Association in 2000 to bring England into line with UEFA regulations.
In 2003, the Premier League chairmen agreed to making the qualification a mandatory requirement to manage at the top level in England.
Following an induction period, those wishing to qualify for the Pro-Licence need to undergo a year-long course which involves around 240 hours of study combining a mixture of distance learning, online learning and conference calls. Once this has been successfully completed there is a residential study week at University of Warwick.
Other managerial qualifications
In 2003, an FA Coaching Diploma was awarded to all coaches who had at least 10 years' experience of being a manager or head coach or who had attended that summer's Diploma Course.
Challenges to regulations
In 2006, Newcastle United was granted a two-week extension to the 12-week restriction to allow Glenn Roeder to continue as their caretaker manager until the end of the season despite him not holding a Pro Licence. He had enrolled in 2003 but, due to ill health, had to drop out without completing the course. In early May 2006 Freddy Shepherd, the Newcastle Utd chairman made it clear that, after a successful run as caretaker, the Newcastle board of directors wanted to appoint Roeder as their full-time permanent manager. Shepherd asked the FB Premier League if they would waive their rule and the two-week extension could be continued for a further season, during which time Roeder would complete the Pro Licence. The FA stated that this would have to be put to a vote of all the Premier League clubs. On 19 May 2006 Newcastle announced that the other Premier League clubs were in agreement and that they would be introducing Roeder as their new manager the following week.
In June 2006, Middlesbrough appointed Gareth Southgate to be their new manager despite his lack of a UEFA Pro Licence. The club, and Southgate, said that he has been unable to gain the qualification in previous summers due to involvement with England and was hampered in 2006 by Middlesbrough's success in getting to the final of the UEFA Cup. They also quote the Newcastle/Glenn Roeder situation as having set a precedent though Southgate made it clear he will study for the qualification as soon as possible. In November 2006, he was given special dispensation to remain in charge of Middlesbrough until the end of the season.
In September 2007, Chelsea appointed Avram Grant as manager. His previous role was Director of Football at the club. Grant did not hold the UEFA Pro Licence required by the Premier League to manage a club in England or by UEFA to manage a club participating in European competitions.
In June 2008, Blackburn Rovers appointed Paul Ince as manager, with UEFA allowing him to take the role despite having gained neither the UEFA Pro Licence nor the lesser UEFA B Licence but "giving him two years' grace to earn the necessary qualifications".
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