Foundation's Hong Kong mission

by Kate Smith

Club charity involved in Premier League’s international development scheme.

Just like Paolo Di Canio and his players, coaches from the Foundation of Light are hard at work in Hong Kong, delivering sessions as part of the Barclays Premier League’s Premier Skills initiative.

Members of the Foundation’s football development department have hooked up with the Premier League at their base in Hong Kong to work with scores of youngsters from the local community.

Using the global reach of the Premier League, football is used to engage young people and give them the opportunity to develop their own skills and tackle issues such as health, gender, inclusion and disability.

Foundation of Light’s Football Development Director, Graham Robinson is one of the coaches taking part in the Premier Skills programme and he has been delighted with the enthusiasm he and the team have been met with.

He said: “We’re working with people who have coaching qualifications and we’re enhancing their skills base. It’s a great opportunity as they’re getting to work with coaches from not only Sunderland football club, but Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and the Premier League.”

The programme is made up of both practical and theory sessions and both are met with equal passion from the students.

“After a morning of practical sessions on the pitch,” Graham continued, “it’s off to the classroom in the afternoon and it’s been brilliant. There’s been no issue with the language barrier, all participants can speak and write in English and they are so keen to learn, education is a priority for these people.

He added: “The programme is a great addition to the growth of football and the Premier League in Hong Kong and most of importantly for me they’re leaving sessions with big smiles on their faces.”

Premier Skills is a collaborative project between the Premier League and the British Council. has already made a tremendous impact in 21 countries. Since 2007 the programme has created training opportunities benefitting 2,300 grassroots coaches and referees who in turn have reached more than 450,000 young people.