Premier Skills in China

Premier Skills in China

Across 25 cities in China, Premier Skills has trained thousands of grassroots coaches and referees who have gone on to benefit the lives of more than one million young people.

The programme has contributed to China’s football reform agenda by increasing awareness of football amongst young people and supporting coaches to gain new skills in how to use football to engage and inspire. 

The China football reform agenda has also contributed to an increase in the awareness of and participation in football amongst girls and young women, and has supported local coaches to gain new skills in using football to engage and inspire its new audiences. Within a new qualification framework, the core Premier Skills methodology has been adapted to benefit increased participation in inclusive football across education networks in China. 

Gao Xu is a primary school teacher in Wuhan who took part in Premier Skills to demonstrate the positive impact football can have on young people. By promoting the physical, interpersonal and academic benefits of football to colleagues and parents, she’s helped to change attitudes and boost participation, with the school’s students now playing a daily football match.

We’ve seen a positive impact on children’s academic performance, in terms of their interpersonal skills, teamwork and creativity. Having seen these results, teachers are now more willing for students to take part in football activities.

Gao Xu, Premier Skills Coach


Since 2007:

  • 5,499 grassroots coaches and referees trained
  • 1,032,229 young people engaged through inclusive community football projects
  • 50 per cent female participation on community football projects for young people run by Premier Skills coaches and referees

The Premier League coaches had an incredibly positive attitude and constantly gave feedback to support our learning. My confidence and communication skills have been improved not only in the classroom, but outside of work, too.

Gao Xu, Premier Skills Coach

Key partnerships

  • Federation of University/School Sports of China (FUSC)
  • Beijing Olympic City Development Association
  • Shandong Campus Football Development Research Centre
  • Wuhan Education Bureau
  • Ningbo Education Bureau
  • Zhengzhou Education Bureau
  • ShaanXi Education Department
  • Suzhou Xi’an Jiaotong Liverpool University
  • Shenzhen Luohu District Education Bureau and Sports Bureau

Future goals

Inspired by the Premier League’s Premier Stars programme, Premier Skills will soon shift its focus to bringing learning to life for primary school students with free school resources and family activities focusing on physical education, maths and English.

Group content

In Chinese society, academic achievement often takes a high priority and the importance of sport for health, fitness and teamwork has not always been recognised as a valid addition to the curriculum.