The UAE Pro League concluded last week the technical seminar designed for members of the technical staff in UAE professional clubs, which was scheduled over three separate days via video conferencing and included 18 technical and development lectures with a duration of over 13 hours. The sessions saw the participation of a group of international experts, including specialists in improving performance and developing academies, experts in integrating technology into the technical performance and technical development, in addition to specialists in logistics management of professional football teams in prominent international leagues.
The first session was held under the name "Academy & Organizational Structures and Functions" and saw the participation of FIFA Technical Expert Ged Roddy MBE, FIFA High Performance Manager Ed Franklin, and UAE Football Association Technical Director Michel Sablon.
The second session was held under the title "Team Management and Logistics Planning" on November 5 with the participation of General Manager of First Team Operations at Liverpool FC Ray Haughan and Football Liaison Officer at Celtic FC Brendan O’Neill.
The last session was titled “Technical Performance and Technology Integration” and was led by Academy Director at Valencia C.F. Luis Martinez, Technical Director of Valencia C.F. Academy Marco Otero, FIFA Technical Expert Pierre Barrieu and FIFA High Performance Manager Ed Franklin.
The sessions were designed according to the AFC and UAE Pro League licensing and development initiatives with the aim of focusing on development areas in football. They focused on exploring best practices and saw the participation of a number of experts from different backgrounds alongside local consultants with a firm understanding of football in UAE.
The workshop witnessed several discussions between the participants and the speakers, regarding the technical and tactical aspects, as well as integrating technology with the players’ technical performance, and saw the presentation of the most prominent international experiences in the field. In this regard, UAE Pro League CEO Waleed Al Hosani expressed his delight with the outcome of the sessions and his appreciation for the experts who contributed to enriching the conversation. He also affirmed the UAE Pro League’s keenness to develop the clubs’ technical performance in a way that would benefit the Emirati football sector. “The sessions provided a platform for a fruitful exchange of experiences, and I hope that these sessions will provide guidance to professional clubs on the best practices in academy development, team management, and technical performance,” he said.
He added, "we are working closely with our clubs to provide them with all the possible resources for the development of technical, administrative, and professional aspects. We are very pleased with the remarkable interaction of the clubs and their representatives, which was evident in the positive discussions throughout the sessions that were managed and attended by a group of international experts.”
He concluded, “the Pro League always aims to provide all tools that could support the clubs’ plans. The Pro League focuses on development initiatives, especially the technical ones, which works in favor of the league and its technical value and pushes for further development. We do trust our clubs and their keenness to accomplish all of this.”
For his part, General Manager of First Team Operations at Liverpool FC Ray Haughan, who spoke at the technical workshop, praised the high professionalism that he felt during the workshop, especially the keenness of the UAE clubs' representatives to understand all developments related to first team operations management and logistics management for team and players to prepare them for matches according to the highest international standards. Inspired by his work with European champions and English Premier League champions for the past two years Liverpool, he offered our clubs invaluable advices on how to pay attention to all the details related to building a winning team that competes locally and abroad.
He added, "I quickly realized that everyone is highly motivated to provide a highly professional service for the UAE teams, starting from the workshop organizers to the participants. The questions during the workshop were very focused on the role of the team manager and its importance in the club’s structure”.
He also commented on the value of logistical planning for an international club the size of Premier League champions and Champions League winners Liverpool. He said, "Logistical planning for a club like Liverpool FC is a large and ongoing exercise which has developed over the years on and off the pitch as the club has grown in size. It involves many different departments within the clubs besides football as security, medical, sports science, analysis, nutrition, coaching, press and PR.”
He added, “you need to know the requirements of each individual in the team and ensure they are all met so that each group can provide elite level service before, during and after the game whether it’s on a domestic or continental level. Discussing each game in detail with the manager and coaches is another important point as it allows you to do all the travel arrangements and prepare for each game.”
When asked for his advice to the UAE clubs, he said, “my advice for team managers in the Arabian Gulf League would be to collect all information related to everyone in the club and to plan each game separately so that you can ensure the execution goes well and that all team requirements are met. If you do this, you’ll give yourself the best chance of winning each game. We shouldn’t forget that attention to detail and proper planning allows you to execute in a better and more enjoyable manner.”
He also gave advice on how UAE teams can harness the logistic planning tasks, especially in foreign competitions. He said, “international competitions and travel comes with their own set of logistical planning and challenges. Therefore, planning for any game, as well as ensuring the presence of a full team of technical and managerial staff, is the starting point to overcoming these challenges. Beside the domestic planning tasks, you need to ensure several other issues including visas, security, airports, ground transportation, hotel qualities which vary from a country to another, training facilities, nutritional requirements, scheduling of the next game, in addition to ensuring recovery period after international travel. My advice would be to make sure that every small detail is taken care of and that the players are ready in order to give your team the best chance of winning (nothing else matters).”