Leeds Beckett researchers to lead international project to enhance the recognition, representation and status of sport coaches in the European Union

The partnership between Leeds Beckett and the International Council for Coaching Excellence continues to produce dividends. CoachForce21, follows the successful completion of previous European Commission funded projects such as CoachNet, CoachLearn and the on-going iCoachKids. These projects have led to significant changes to coach education and coaching policy across the continent and promoted the visibility and recognition of coaching as a significant workforce in the EU.

CoachForce21 will build on this existing work and take further steps towards achieving greater recognition of sport coaching as a profession. It will also provide the tools for the development of a stronger network of Coaches Associations to help “the voice of the coach” be heard louder and clearer in the Social Dialogue in Europe.

The project will be delivered by a team of researchers and practitioners led by Dr Sergio Lara-Bercial, a Reader in Sport Coaching at Leeds Beckett and will include representatives from Trainerakademie Köln (Germany), Czech Olympic Committee, Hungarian Coaching Association, Polish Sport Institute, Coaching Portugal, SAVAL (Professional Coaches Association of Finland) and POPA (Hellenic Federation of Sport Coaches and Trainers). It will start in January 2019 and finish in December 2021.

Dr Lara-Bercial has highlighted the significance of this project: “The European Commission has increasingly emphasised the role of coaches as central to 21st century life. CoachForce21 will provide a significant stepping stone to continue to make inroads towards the professionalisation of coaching and the full recognition of coaches as a central pillar of civic society” 

Project CoachForce21 is co-funded by an Erasmus+ Sport grant and brings together nine organisations from across the European Union to conduct research and develop practical tools to promote and facilitate the recognition of coaching as a profession.


The SCE is a formally established continental body for Europe of the International Council for Coaching Excellence.

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