Stuart Pearce & David Sheepshanks to Speak at Soccerex European Forum

January 27, 2012

Soccerex have announced that England under-21 boss and manager of the men’s 2012 Olympic GB football team, Stuart Pearce, and David Sheepshanks, Chairman of the FA’s new National Football Centre (NFC) – St George’s Park, are confirmed to speak on player and coach development as part of this year’s Soccerex European Forum conference programme.

Both men are heavily involved in player and coach development through their current positions. The National Football Centre (NFC) is a project designed by the FA to provide a training facility for all England teams and centre for all the FA’s coaching and player development work.  Although David has been chairman on St George’s Park since 2008, he resigned as joint-chairman of the FA in the summer of 2011 to focus on the project full-time and ensure its fruition by 2012.

Stuart Pearce is currently manager of the Great Britain and Northern Ireland Olympic football team, the first football team from Great Britain at the Olympics since the Rome games in 1960.  Stuart is also Manager of the U-21 National side.  He is a well-known advocate of youth development and a firm supporter of the NFC.  Pearce, who tasted semi-final defeat as a player at Italia ’90 and Euro ’96, thinks St George’s Park could make a huge difference in the country’s push for success on the international stage and help deliver more home-grown players to domestic leagues.

The work at St George’s Park will coincide with the new Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP), a joint initiative Premier League and Football League initiative overseen by the FA.  The EPPP is a long-term strategy designed to take Premier League Youth Development to the next level by increasing the number and quality of home-grown players gaining professional contracts in the clubs and playing first-team football at top level. The EPPP is not without contention with many arguing that it is only the top clubs that stand to benefit from the new system.

The player and coach development panel will discuss the pros and cons of these new initiatives in context with their European counterparts training programmes to see if there is a correct formula for international success.

Soccerex CEO Duncan Revie commented: ‘Both Stuart and David are driving forward a much needed change in the way England currently approaches player and coach development, both at club and international level.  Their knowledge on this matter is first-class and it is a great privilege to have them speak at this year’s European Forum.’

Player and coach development is just one in a number of topics being discussed at this year’s event; other subjects include match fixing and betting, UEFA, football and the media, football’s new frontiers, ownership and sponsorship.  In addition, there will be a number of workshops running alongside the main studio dedicated to emerging markets, stadia, leagues and rights holders.

Beside its conference programme, the European Forum will also comprise of a packed exhibition displaying all the latest products and services within the industry and a number of networking opportunities, formal and informal, throughout the two days.