On 9 December 2020, Greek Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Lefteris Nikolaou-Alavanos of the Non-attached Members posed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission:
“In Greece, the activities of football coaches are defined and regulated by law. The profession is open to graduates of physical education and sports faculties who have specialised the theory and practice of football coaching, as evidenced by their diplomas.
However, UEFA requires accredited football coaches to hold a UEFA Pro Licence. As far as Greece is concerned, his requires attendance at Greek Football Federation seminars lasting just a few days at a cost of between, EUR 750 and EUR 5000.
As a result, hundreds of university graduates are effectively being barred from working as football coaches in professional or amateur football clubs, notwithstanding the provisions of Article 3(d) of the UEFA Coaching Convention 2020 to the effect that the convention ‘is without prejudice to the right of a convention party to accept any national qualification or equivalent qualification recognised under national or European law for the purposes of domestic competitions or other coaching activities on its territory’.
National governments, the EU, FIFA and UEFA are treating football and sport in general as a money-spinner, which strongly colours their perception of what a professional coach is required to do.
In the light of this:
What view does the Commission take of urgent requests to make access to the profession of football coach conditional only on possession of a diploma, without requiring additional seminars, training or certificates and without the need to incur additional expenditure?”
On 3 February 2021, Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton responded on behalf of the European Commission stating: “In the absence of harmonisation on Union level, it remains under national competence to decide whether and how to regulate a profession, e.g., the level and type of training needed to access a profession or to exercise specific professional activities, within the limits of Union law and in particular the principle of proportionality.
In that respect, Member States may decide which specific qualifications may give a professional in its territory the right to access the profession of football coach and the type of corresponding activities that may be exercised.
Based on the available information, requirements for attending seminars, specific trainings and/or obtaining specific certificates in order to access the profession or specific professional activities do not seem to be disproportionate and contrary to Union law per se.”
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