Premier Skills South Africa: Coach and Referee Development Training

21 March - 1 April 2017

The hugely successful Premier Skills initiative, run by the Premier League and the British Council, returns to South Africa. Premier Skills will take place from Saturday 25 March 2017 to Saturday 1 April 2017 at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, with intensive training for 36 grassroots football coaches and 20 referees selected from across South Africa.

Premier Skills uses football to develop a brighter future for young people around the world, drawing upon the global appeal of the Premier League and its expertise in delivering community programmes in the UK, alongside the British Council’s global network and track record of delivery.

Through Premier Skills, young people, often including the most vulnerable in society, are given opportunities to become better integrated into their local communities, to develop their skills for employability and to raise their self-esteem.


The course in Durban is being jointly organised by the British Council and Premier League, in partnership with the South African Football Association (SAFA) and SuperSport. Premier Skills in South Africa also includes associated partners from Non-Governmental Organisations such as: Grassroot Soccer, Sport for Social Change Network, Coaching for Hope and the Football Foundation of South Africa.

The project will assist in the development of community football coaches who will be trained by expert coaches from Sunderland Association Football Club (SAFC):

Head coach:                Graham Robinson (Head of International Football Development at SAFC)

Senior coaches:          Michael Havelock (Head of Football Development at SAFC)

                                    Caroline Ames (Female Football Development Officer at SAFC).


The referee coaching will be led by Graham Laws (Referee Coach at PGMOL) and Nigel Miller (National List Referee).


Premier Skills was first run in South Africa in March 2014. The course in Durban will provide follow up training for a number of the coaches and referees from the first phase.Throughout the week the 36 grassroots football coaches and 20 referees from South African local communities will be given the skills and support to develop their own community football projects and their development as a community referee.


The course will conclude with the Premier Skills trainees being given the opportunity to test their new skills working with 120 scholars invited from local schools on the last two days of the project. In addition Grassroot Soccer will be delivering a workshop on working with community organisations. An awards ceremony will also be conducted on the last day for the participating grassroots trainee coaches, where press can meet with the partners and participants.

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 and success internationally we felt it only right to take this approach to a wider community.

“Premier Skills has already taken place in 26 countries, developing over 2,500 new coaches and referees all over the world. These coaches have already delivered work that has benefited a further 550,000 young people. I am thrilled to see Premier Skills returning to South Africathis week.”


British Council Director, Colm McGivern said:

"Premier Skills helps coaches across South Africa develop top class leadership skills through sport, as well as connecting South Africa’s communities with the UK through one of our world class brands, the English Premier League. The Premier Skills initiative in South Africa will empower grass-root coaches and help them achieve greater goals in their communities."


SuperSport Acting Chief Executive Officer, Brandon Foot said:

"SuperSport is indeed privileged to have such a strong association with the English Premier League. As this initiative demonstrates, our partnership extends beyond broadcasting and we are delighted to be part of something that is so important.

"Any effort to grow and develop the game is to be lauded. Empowering aspirant players guarantees the health of the game for years to come. SuperSport looks forward to watching these players come through."


For media enquiries contact:

British Council

Sinethemba Malunga: Project Officer (Johannesburg)

Telephone + 27 11 560 9341

Cell: +27 79 976 1670