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Premier Skills, a programme jointly organized by the British Council and the Barclays Premier League, have started a new phase in Malaysia

Premier Skills is a partnership between the Premier League and the British Council which uses football as a tool to engage with, and develop the skills of young people. Since 2007, the project has now been delivered in up to 20 countries, including Malaysia.    

The hugely succesful Premier Skills programme returned to Malaysia for its third phase from the 17th to 21st December. For this phase, eight Malaysian Premier Skills Coach Educators delivered intensive training for 16 grassrooots football coaches from across Kuala Lumpur. The training was overseen by head coaches: Paul Hughes, Social Inclusion and Project Manager at Reading FC, and Adam Lea, Education Manager from Portsmouth FC.

Premier Skills, which was held at Garden International School, also has support from Football Association Malaysia (FAM). It is divided into three stages of training programmes that aim to ensure the development and sustainability of Premier Skills in Malaysia. Graduates from the programme will be qualified to deliver Premier Skills community coaching in Malaysia, thereby fulfilling the initial role played by the Premier League community coaches.

Since launching in Malaysia in 2009, over 110 community coaches and referees from across the country have benefitted from the expert training of coaches and referees from Premier League clubs and the Professional Game Match Officials Ltd. Drawing upon the Premier Leagues' domestic expertise, it uses football to tackle a variety of social issues in the community.

According to the Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore, "Premier Skills has already taken place in 20 countries, developing over 1,100 coaches all over the world under the current phase. The Coach Educators stage of the project, which launches in Malaysia this week, will build on these achievements, further developing the skills some of the most promising coaches that we have worked with."

British Council Chief Executive Martin Davinson added that their purpose is to connect people in the UK to people in other countries and football is a great way to do that. They are therefore proud of Premier Skills, their partnership with the Premier League, and he is delighted that a new phase of this unique project, which combines English and football, two truly unversal languages, is being launched in Malysia.

Grey Yeoh, British Council Malaysia Arts and Programmes Manager, commented "Premier Skills was specially brought to Malaysia for the development of community cohesion. The programme not only allows local coaches to receive training from Premier League experts, but also uses football as a tool to initiate and support social development. As a result, these unique individuals become a significant figure to empower and nurture those within their community."