Wednesday, 10 October 2018

The hugely successful Premier Skills initiative, run by the Premier League and the British Council, returns to Egypt this October to train 19 male and female participants at Maadi Olympic Centre in Cairo.

The Premier Skills training, is being jointly organised by the British Council, Premier League and the Ministry of Youth and Sports. The course, running between 1-5 October, will see eight female grassroots football coaches take part; the delivery of which is being supported by Egyptian national team footballers and Premier Skills coach educators, Fayza Haidar, Passant Megahed and Montaser Elsayed Ibrahim. The training will be led by Premier Skills Head Coaches Paul Hughes and Graham Robinson.

Fayzer Haider, Premier Skills coach educator and former captain of the Egyptian Women’s Football Team said: “Premier Skills helped me achieve my dream to put together the first integrated team made of disabled and non-disabled female players.

“Through the project I was also able to achieve my dream to implement football community development project in my area Helwan; I established football academy for girls. The project was called ‘Achieve your dream’. I worked with public schools to get access to girls aged 10 to 12; visited their homes to convince their parents to approve them participating in football. I started with 100 girls to play football for the first time in their lives. This was five years ago; now we have three teams of females officially registered in the FA in Helwan.”

The week-long training is the beginning of the final phase of the Premier Skills programme – helping coaches to become coach educators so that they can lead training for adults themselves, in order to establish their own community programmes.

So far, Premier Skills in Egypt has reached over 80,000 children, through the delivery and teaching of 120 Premier Skills coaches and 12 Premier Skills coach educators.

Elizabeth White, Country Director of the British Council in Egypt, said: “Football is a great way to build bridges between our two countries – especially because in both countries we love football, and the Premier League in particular.

“We are very excited to offer young Egyptians the chance to learn from one of the best football leagues in the world, the Premier League, through our Premier Skills.”

“As the first woman director of the British Council in Egypt I’m pleased to see nearly half of the participants in this latest phase are women. Sport can be a marvellous way of changing perceptions and creating a more inclusive society.”

Young player Aya Mohamed, from Minia Governate who joined Premier Skills in April 2018, said: “We wanted to play football and there was no chance for girls to do so at school ... we seized the opportunity and started our journey”

Mohamed Nour, Undersecretary of the Ministry and Head of the Central Administration for Sports Performance said: “The Ministry of Youth and Sports welcomes the community partnership with the British Council through Premier Skills programme for football, which is attended by all coaches from the sports clubs and youth centres in Egypt and we hope for more cooperation and partnership between us in the future.

“We are pleased with this partnership, which emphasizes on the importance of the role of sports in the society as well as the depth of the links between the Ministry of Youth and the British Council as an important platform for the dissemination of values and principles in addition to Premier Skills programme aimed at the development of sports wishing for a sustainable fruitful cooperation with the British Council.”

Kate Hodgkinson, Head of International Relations, Premier League added: “We hope this Premier Skills course in Cairo has as much of a positive impact as the previous phases run in Egypt.

“It’s very encouraging to see that nearly half of the participants attending are female and I hope that they can take away learnings from the great role models who are assisting the training, including Fayzer Haidar, so that they too can help inspire the creation and development of women’s football teams in their local areas.”

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.

Premier Skills uses football to develop skills for young people, drawing upon the global appeal of the Premier League and its expertise in delivering community programmes in the UK. 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.

Premier Skills is a proven model, influencing institutional approaches to social action through football as well as providing direct training to coaches and referees.

Since Premier Skills began in 2007, 21,891 coaches and referees have been trained in 29* countries, who in turn have reached over 1.6 million young people.

6,000 teachers have received training in the use of the Premier Skills English materials, with 6.5 million views of the materials online.

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 information please visit the Premier Skills website.

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. For more information on these visit the Premier League website.

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We work with over 100 countries in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Last year we reached over 75 million people directly and 758 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. We make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government.

About Premier League

The Premier League is home to some of the most competitive and compelling football in the world. The League and its clubs use the power and popularity of the competition to inspire fans, communities, and partners in the UK and across the world. The Premier League brings people together from all backgrounds. It is a competition for everyone, everywhere and is available to watch in 1 billion homes in 189 countries.

Coach Biographies

Paul Hughes

Paul Hughes is a senior programme manager role with over 15 years’ experience in strategic development and leading teams to positively deliver sport for development and social change both in the UK and internationally.

Paul has been involved in Premier Skills since 2008 working in a wide variety of countries, delivered on more than 30 Premier Skills courses working in partnership with Premier League clubs.

Graham Robinson

In 2017 Graham was appointed Head Coach of the Premier Skills Program as their African Specialist.  As a key member of the Premier Skills Team Graham also delivers across the Indian and Asian markets.  This program has seen Graham support over 500 coaches in addition to creating Coach Educators internationally.

Graham also works as a part-time coach and lecturer for Middlesbrough College, supporting BTEC Sports and students in post-16 education, by delivering lessons and sessions as well as managing a squad during their weekly games program.Graham has previously worked as Head of International Football Development at Sunderland AFC targeting three key markets: Africa, America and Asia.