Ms. Valentina Mercolli, HatTrick Programme Manager at UEFA, Switzerland was the esteemed speaker at the 6th CIES Conference of the year that was held on Sunday 21st February. The UEFA HatTrick Programme is based on three core pillars in football – investment, education and knowledge-sharing and represents one of the largest solidarity and development programmes ever to be established by a sports body. Ms. Mercolli joined the National Associations Development Unit at UEFA in 2011 to work in the education domain. She has dealt with the organisation and implementation of several UEFA’s personal development programmes (such as the UEFA CFM, UEFA DFM and MESGO) as well as other academic initiatives (for example, the UEFA Research Grant Programme).
The participants got an in-depth perspective on how funds are distributed through the HatTrick Programme among the 55 nations that come under UEFA. Ms. Mercolli shared many examples of how different nations utilize these funds based on their own needs. She also shared the tremendous effect the HatTrick Programme has had on the growth of women’s football across Europe. It was a truly insightful session and was an eye-opener on how world sporting associations support national associations in developing sports in their regions.