Premier Skills Press Conference as part of Qatar UK 2013
Premier Skills Press Conference 2013

Football is one of the UK's greatest cultural assets and the Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture offered a fantastic opportunity to develop programmes which encourage participation in the game and community development through sport. The Premier Skills programme showcased the best of British coaching talent to develop the skills of grassroots football coaches in Qatar. The Year of Culture also offered a group of young players from the UK the opportunity travel to Qatar to play football and to learn first-hand about Qatar and its culture, heritage and ambitions.


Premier Skills coaching programme

"We hope this Premier Skills programme will create long-lasting partnership between both the individuals taking part, and the institutions supporting the programme" - Martin Hope, Director, British Council Qatar. 

In October 2013, football coaches from around Qatar took part in Premier Skills - a programme organised by the British Council and the Premier League.

The showcase combined the Premier League’s global appeal with the reach of the British Council, using football to encourage brighter futures for young people around the world by tackling social community issues such as health, disability, gender, inclusion and education. 

Led by expert coaches Paul Hughes, Director of Innovative Sports Consultancy, Laura Milburn, a Sport Manager at Wolverhampton Wanderers FC, and Sally Needham, a UEFA-qualified coach, the Qatar event gave intensive training to 32 male and female football coaches selected from across the country. The male coaches who took part were trained and nominated by the Qatar FA, while the female coaches came from the Qatar Women's Sport Committee network, upholding Premier Skills' commitment to having more female participants in its programme.

International Hadaf Football Tournament

“Football is a shared passion in Qatar and in the UK, creating leaders on and off the pitch, showcasing talent and encouraging healthy lifestyles. This tournament offered talented young athletes from both countries the opportunity to meet, compete and learn from each other – deepening athletic and cultural ties between the two nations for years to come.” Marwa El-Tanbouly, Project Manager, British Council.

Following the success of Premier Skills, the International Hadaf Football Tournament was organised by the British Council in partnership with  Evolution Soccer and Aspire Academy.

Three UK teams, from Manchester Grammar School (MGS), Shrewsbury School, and Oldham Hulme Grammar School, travelled to Doha to compete with local youth teams, Evolution Soccer, the American School of Doha, and QUESS, in an under-17s competition. Off the pitch, they enjoyed a programme of cultural activities, learning more about Qatar’s heritage and plans for the future - including World Cup 2022.

After demonstrations of great skill and sportsmanship from all teams, MGS were announced winners of the Qatar-UK Challenge Trophy. All participants were awarded Certificates of Appreciation for their outstanding performance and behaviour. 

“It has been a unique experience and a very well organised tournament with great facilities... Besides exchanging a shared passion between young people from around the world, the tournament allowed for a unique cultural exchange that I believe they will never forget.” Mark Facchini, MGS Coach.