UEFA and top European club coaches have met in Nyon to swap opinions and ideas on the European club competitions and the development of the game.
The latest annual UEFA Elite Club Coaches Forum, which took place at the House of European Football on Monday, once again provided a star-studded line-up of club coaches with a key platform to come together with UEFA to debate and discuss various football issues.
Talks focussed in particular on the video assistant referee (VAR) system, which UEFA first used in the UEFA Champions League from last season’s knockout phase onwards before extending the system to other European club and national team competitions over the past few months.
The international match calendar also featured, alongside a review of tactical and technical trends in last season’s UEFA Champions League.
Important meeting for UEFA
“The meeting is important for UEFA, because it’s the only opportunity that we have to speak with the top coaches,” said UEFA Deputy General Secretary Giorgio Marchetti.
“It’s vital that we listen to them, because they are main stakeholders in the game,” he added.
The coaches present in Nyon were Massimiliano Allegri (experienced Italian coach), Carlo Ancelotti (Napoli), Unai Emery (Arsenal), Paulo Fonseca (Roma), Rudi Garcia (Olympique Lyonnais), Josep Guardiola (Manchester City), Erik ten Hag (Ajax), Jürgen Klopp (Liverpool), Mircea Lucescu (experienced Romanian coach), Maurizio Sarri (Juventus), Thomas Tuchel (Paris Saint-Germain) and Zinédine Zidane (Real Madrid).
“I think the coaches like the fact,” Marchetti said, “that it’s a unique opportunity for them to sit around a table and speak to colleagues about important topics that they feel are part of their daily jobs.”
Marchetti explained that the discussions on VAR had given the coaches an ideal chance to talk about the system with the chairman of UEFA’s Referees Committee, Roberto Rosetti, who was present at the meeting in Nyon.
“It’s useful that the coaches and the main referees’ representative can speak together,” he said, “because it helps to clarify situations.
“Let’s not forget that VAR is very young,” Marchetti continued. “It’s a revolution in the game, and helps to avoid game-changing mistakes. There are things which need to be fine-tuned, but I think we have to look at the positive points about the system.”
Coaches who came to Nyon welcomed the opportunity to speak to UEFA, as well as to listen and learn from their colleagues away from the pressures and demands of their everyday work.
“I’ve had the pleasure of attending these meetings for some years now,” said Unai Emery, “along with different coaches – up-and-coming coaches, coaches with experience.”
“When we’re competing [against each other], the rivalry is greater,” the Arsenal coach added. “Yet when we’re here, we spend time chatting and getting to know each other better.”