Premier League And British Council Launch Innovative New Coaching Project In Nigeria

The hugely successful Premier Skills initiative, run by the Premier League and the British Council, has this week launched in Lagos. Premier Skills Phase 1 will take place from 21st – 27th March; with intensive training for 20 grassroots football coaches selected from across Nigeria.


Running alongside the coach programme will be a new ‘Introduction to Refereeing’ course, which will focus on teaching community organisations the rules of football. The course is being led by international FIFA referee, Keith Hackett, who will be assisted by Paul Rejer, who was appointed Assistant Referee to the F.A. Challenge Cup Final in 1994. This component will run from 27th – 29th March.

The course in Nigeria is being jointly organised by the British Council, Premier League and the Kano State Directorate of Youth Development (DYD), Peace Initiative Network Kano, Youth Sports Initiative Lagos, Dreams Alive Kaduna and Institute of Governance and Social Research Jos (IGSR).

Premier Skills has already successfully run in 23 different centres in 18 countries worldwide. In Africa training courses have already taken place in Botswana, Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Senegal, Sudan and Uganda.

Premier Skills has achieved huge impact under the first stage of the programme. It has run in 23 centres, across 18 countries around the world. It has trained 1,000 coaches, reached nearly 300,000 young people, with over one million football-focused English language materials distributed globally.

Harnessing the huge global interest in the Premier League, the British Council has created a range of football-based materials that include a dedicated Premier Skills website . This website features downloadable resources for teachers and learners, and the first components of a Premier Skills self-access schools pack, providing materials for teachers and learners of English. These will enable people around the world to develop and build upon their English language skills. The resources also use the motivational power of football to develop classroom materials that allow teachers and learners to explore key social issues such as health and social inclusion.

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”.

‘’The project will be led by head coach, Iffy Onuorah, previously coach in a number of teams in England and National Coach of Ethiopia. He will be backed by Steve Howey, Ex-England and New Castle player, Stephen Hutchinson, community coach at Newcastle and Dave MacLean, community coach from Bolton Wanderers. All of the Coaches are UEFA qualified Coaches”.


“Premier Skills has already taken place in 15 countries, developing 1,000 new coaches all over the world. These coaches have already delivered work that has benefited a further 250,000 young people. I am thrilled to see Premier Skills now rolling out in Nigeria this week”.

British Council Chief Executive Martin Davidson said, “Our purpose is to connect people in the UK to people in other countries and football is a great way to do that. We are therefore proud of Premier Skills, our partnership with the Premier League and I am delighted that this unique project, which combines English and football – two truly universal languages –, has arrived in Nigeria”.

Premier Skills is a collaborative project between the Premier League and the British Council, which uses football (and the interest there is in the Premier League) as a tool to help develop both community coaching and English language skills. The project was piloted in Egypt and India in late 2007 and early 2008. Thereafter Phase One projects were delivered across Africa (in Botswana, Cameroon, Kenya, Malawi, Morocco, Senegal, Sudan, Tunisia and Uganda), in India (New Delhi, Kolkata, Goa and Kerala) and across Asia (China, Malaysia, South Korea and Vietnam). Phase Two courses then took place in India, Egypt, Kenya, China, and Vietnam. Following Uganda and Senegal, Botswana marks the beginning of the next stage of Premier Skills, with an enhanced coaching offer and new referee coaching element being rolled out in a range of countries over the next three years.  


 Stephen Hutchinson, Dave Maclean, Steve Howey & Iffy Onuora


 Dave Maclean and the kids


Seyi Akinwunmi, Femi Sodipo & Martin Akubue

About the British Council (BC)
•    BC is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations.
•     BC work in over 100 countries worldwide to build opportunity and trust for the UK through the exchange of knowledge and ideas between people.
•    BC work in the Arts, English, Education and Society, including science and sport – and in the process contribute to the security and prosperity of the UK and the countries where BC works.
•     Last year BC engaged face to face with 18.4 million people and reached 652 million. BC is a non-political organisation which operates at arm’s length from government. BC&#39s total turnover in 2009/10 was £705 million, of which BC&#39s grant-in-aid from the British government was £211 million. For every £1 of government grant BC receives, they earn £2.50 from other sources.



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

For more information visit

SeyiAkinwunmi, Femi Sodipo& Martin Akubue

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