Building for a bright future | Inside UEFA

UEFA today publishes a brand-new guide to help clubs and national associations plan for constructing and renovating training centres.

The document, ‘UEFA Best Practice Guide to Training Centre Construction and Management’, provides an overview of factors to consider when looking to invest in new facilities or improve existing infrastructure. Designed for organisations of all sizes and expertise, the guide covers several key areas:

An aerial view of England's St. George's Park complex

An aerial view of England’s St. George’s Park complexThe FA

– Infrastructure
– Process and function
– Training facilities
– Sustainability
– Accessibility

Raising standards

“UEFA’s role as the governing body of European football is to help raise standards both on and off the pitch, and to assist the clubs and member associations, as well as the European football community as a whole,” explains UEFA Deputy General Secretary Giorgio Marchetti.

“The aim of the [document] is to provide a step-by-step guide to training centre design, construction and management that sets out the key concepts to consider when planning the development of such a facility from a sporting and operational perspective.

“Everything that we as UEFA can do to encourage and assist in the development of top-class training facilities will be of great benefit to football, as well as to local communities.”

View and download the full UEFA Best Practice Guide to Training Centre Construction and Management guide

Five top tips for training centres

1 – Each project is unique

There is no one-size-fits-all model but specific best practice examples and business models can be used as reference points to build a bespoke facility whether the aim is to provide state of the art facilities for a men’s national A team or a facility designed to nurture youth development.

A look inside OGC Nice's stunning new facility

A look inside OGC Nice’s stunning new facilityOGC Nice

2 – Build a team to succeed

Just as on the pitch, the composition of a team brought together to deliver a project is crucial. A wide variety of knowledge and skill sets are needed to ensure all stakeholder needs are met, whether that is providing the right facilities for coaches and players, or addressing the requirements of marketing, media or community opportunities.

3 – Training, testing, rehab and recovery

The importance of recovery and rehabilitation have long been accepted as essential by coaches and sports scientists for athletes to perform at their best during increasingly intense schedules. Modern training centres now reflect the advances made in this area in the array of facilities installed at the elite level. Performance testing labs are increasingly common in order to identify key physical traits and perhaps detect and therefore avoid burnout or injury.

4 – Technology and future-proofing

There is no escaping technology’s importance in the modern game. From monitoring player performance to tracking the length of grass, there is barely a detail that is left to chance. Popular uses of technology include live GPS, automated cameras, giant screens, digital signage and mission control centres as well as interactive training aids to improve technical skills.

5 – Support through sustainability

increasingly sustainable and environmentally friendly designs and construction schemes are enjoying significant political, public and financial support. Sustainability is a key issue in the development of infrastructure, and clubs and associations that take account of such matters are regarded as being representative of their local communities. A strong sustainability strategy can help achieve commercial goals, as well as reinforcing positive values.

A view of the gym at Juventus' training centre

A view of the gym at Juventus’ training centre Juventus FC via Getty Images

The following are all key areas in this regard:

– Design
– Construction method
– Lighting and energy
– Transport
– Landscaping and biodiversity
– Re-use and recycling (e.g. reduction of water consumption)
– Generation of waste

View and download the full guide here

UEFA also recently published a new interactive report offering unique insight into training facilities and youth investment in Europe. The UEFA Training Facility and Youth Investment Landscape presents a comprehensive overview of 950 training facilities used by 673 clubs across European football.