Monday, 24 November 2014

The hugely successful Premier Skills initiative, run by the Premier League and the British Council will be launched on Monday 24 November 2014 in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India. 

Premier Skills will take place from 24 to 30 November 2014. The training will be held at Sports Authority of India, Lakshmibai National College of Physical Education, Kariavattom P.O.; Thiruvananthapuram 695581, Kerala.

This is the first phase of a three-phase training programme for coaches and two-phase training programme for referees in Thiruvananthapuram. 

Premier Skills is a partnership between the British Council and the Premier League. It uses football as a tool to help develop both community coaching and English language skills. The programme trains sports coaches, referees and youth leaders to return to their own communities and enhance their existing football sessions, whilst also developing their leadership skills and a greater understanding of the role football can play in tackling other social issues.

The coach education programme will be led by head coach Jeremy Weeks, who was a senior coach at Fulham FC till May 2011 which he left to join the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Organising Committee (LOCOG) where he was the Paralympic Football Competition Manager. He will be supported by Corinne Mitchell, community coach from Aston Villa Football Club, Daniel Landstrom from City in the Community Foundation of Manchester City Football Club, Daniel Slaughter, Inclusion Development Manager at Tottenham Hotspur Football Club and Kelvin Chee a Premier Skills community coach educator from Malaysia. 

The referee development programme will be led by Ray Olivier, Training & Development Manager for the Professional Game Match Officials and responsible for the training and development of Premier League and Football League referees and Assistant Referees in England. He will be supported by Keren Barratt, Select Group Referee Manager for the Professional Game Match Officials.

The course in Thiruvananthapuram is being jointly organised by the British Council and Premier League in association with Sports Authority of India (SAI), Lakshmibai National College of Physical Education, All India Football Federation (AIFF), Kerala Football Association (KFA) and Goa Football Association (GFA).

Participants in the programme have been selected from the Football associations as well as from a number of NGO’s, including Special Olympics, CEQUIN, Oscar Foundation and World Vision.

The coaches and referees will receive training from qualified Premier Skills coaches, giving them the skills and support to develop their own community football projects and development as referees.

In addition to the training, the UK referee trainers will hold a referee symposium event on 27 November.

As of 2013, Premier Skills has trained 2,500 coaches and referees  in 25 countries across Asia, Africa and the Americas, who in turn have reached a further 550,000 young people. By 2016 it aims to train a further 3,000 coaches and referees and through them reach more than 300,000 young people.

In addition to coaching, a range of free materials, including a dedicated website, have been created under Premier Skills for teachers and learners of English that utilise exciting Premier League content and the British Council’s world-class expertise in English.

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore said:

“At home the Premier League and our Clubs have a long-held commitment and reputation for delivering high quality community and education programmes. Given our popularity internationally we felt it only right to take this approach to a wider community.

“Premier Skills has already taken place in 25 countries, including in India where we have run coach development projects in Delhi and Kolkata and are heavily involved in the ground-breaking Kolkata Goalz project, which has over 1,000 young people involved a week in its activities. I am thrilled that we are now rolling Premier Skills rolling out in India this week.”

Ms Mei-kwei Barker, Director, British Council South India said, “We are delighted to introduce Premier Skills, our very successful partnership project with the Premier League, to South India. It combines English and football, two universal languages and with the support of our local partners in India — Sports Authority of India (SAI), Lakshmibai National College of Physical Education, All India Football Federation (AIFF), Kerala Football Association (KFA) and Goa Football Association (GFA) — we have been able to provide this opportunity. We hope the coaches and referees find this training useful and we are able to bring more such programmes here over the next few years.”

The Programme 

Coach Education Programme: 24 – 30 November 2014

The Coach Education curriculum aims to develop a group of local master trainers at the end of the programme. It will help to develop community coach skills and knowledge. The training will be in three parts, over 18 – 24 months and involves attendance at and graduation from each part of the training. There will be learning and practical tasks that must be completed between each of the training. Those that are successful will need to demonstrate continued progress throughout the 3 Phases and with the tasks that they will be asked to complete between the training phases. Successful Phase 3 Graduates will become Premier Skills Coach Educators - and they will have an opportunity to train and develop new Premier Skills Community Coaches to support the work of their organisation.

Referee Development programme: 24 – 26 November 2014

The Referee Development programme is a two phase programme which offers participants an introduction to refereeing at grassroots level. Participants include referees that are already working in community football programmes but who have received minimal or no formal training to improve their refereeing skills and knowledge.

Referee symposium: 27 November 2014

The symposium will be a mixture of interactive presentations designed to provide a modern update in both referee and assistant referee skills. The sessions will also be helpful for instructors and assessors to use the material for further developing their referees in their communities. Included in the presentations will be looking at the following training topics:

1. Critical Incidents and Communication

2. Recognising Foul Challenges

3. Offside Situations and Interpretation

4. Positioning & Movement 

5. Referee & Assistant Referee Cooperation

Notes to Editor

Premier Skills is a partnership between the Premier League and the British Council which uses football as a tool to develop a brighter future for young people around the world.

It draws upon the Premier League’s global appeal and expertise in delivering community programmes in the UK, alongside the British Council’s global network, track record of delivery and world class expertise in English. 

Since the first pilot in 2007, the project has been delivered across 26 countries: Afghanistan, Botswana, Brazil, Burma, Cameroon, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Korea, Malawi, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Qatar, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia (including Libyan participants), Uganda, USA, Vietnam and Zambia.

By 2016, Premier Skills aims to engage at least 50 policy-makers in football as a tool for development, to train at least 3,000 coaches and referees and through them reach more than 300,000 young people.

Through Premier Skills English, teachers and learners of English are given free, compelling learning materials, drawing on football-based content from the most exciting football league in the world.

For more on Premier Skills visit

To find out more about the football-focused English content and to view the materials online, visit

The Premier League is involved in a wide range of community projects both in the UK and overseas.


About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide. We work in more than 100 countries and our 7000 staff – including 2000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year by teaching English, sharing the Arts and delivering education and society programmes.

The British Council was established in India in 1948. We are recognised across India for our network of 9 libraries and cultural centres. We offer a range of specialised projects in arts, education, exams, English language and society to audiences across India and more than 100,000 members. We also provide access to English language training and learning for both students and teachers, offer UK qualifications in India and enable opportunities to study in the UK.