Coach Education: How to be legally prepared for professional contexts

Author: Tiago Belo

Master’s Degree at Faculty of Human Kinetics


To become professional coach in sports, you will be mostly dependent on results. To achieve better results, it is crucial to go through quality and certified education. Combining theoretical knowledge with practical operational capacity will be the perfect link to work at a professional level.


Regarding coach education, DL No. 248/2008 of December 31st “establishes the access regime and exercise of the sport coach activity, limiting it to Cédula de Treinador de Desporto (CTD) holders”, so only the persons who have the requirements may obtain the CTD and work as coaches. The candidates can obtain the CTD after an education process through:

• Sports Science academic degree [1]

• Instituto Português do Desporto e Juventude (IPDJ) certified courses

• International courses certified by IPDJ

• Professional experience recognition

Table 1. Coach License and required components of each level

The costs can vary but currently, the UEFA C course has a total cost of 1050€ (including the application cost) and the UEFA Pro course 4765€.

One of the coaches concerns, while their coaching activity is the license validity and renewal. For 5 years, the CTD is valid to use. To renew the license, the professionals must keep their education during these 5 years through certified courses by IPDJ. According to the Law No. 5061-2010 of March 22nd, in article 13rd, to renew the CTD is necessary to realize credits (ECTS) during these 5 years period which promotes the adaptation to the reality of modern sport and world updates. In order to assist the coaches in their license renewal, Law No. 40/2012 of August 28th, establishes in its article 8th that IPDJ and educating entities – creditated by IPDJ – promote training actions and programs which allow the coaches with TPTD to learn pertinent content to their professional activity.

Figure 2. Hierarchy of data categories related to closeness

FPF is the responsible for UEFA Pro continuous training actions, IPDJ and football Associations are the responsible for UEFA A, B and C continuous training actions.

According to the FPF official communication, No. 29 of 01-08-2018, for the employment work contract of football and futsal coaches, there is a minimum remuneration to respect:

“1. Obligation to define an employment contract correspondent to an amount no less than 1.5 (one and a half) of the national minimum wage for all Football coaches of 11 a side teams inserted in the structure:

a) from a SAD or SDUQ, whose respective senior team participates in professional competitions;

b) from a Club that has social participation in a SAD or SDUQ whose respective senior team participates in professional competitions;

Obligation to define an employment contract correspondent to an amount no less than 1 (one) national minimum wage for all Football coaches of teams from 3rd National Division and U-23 National Championship.

Obligation to define an employment contract or other kind of bond correspondent to an amount no less than 1 (one) national minimum wage for all Football coaches of teams from Futsal Sportzone League and female football BPI League. Coaches who are not in the above-mentioned intervention contexts may define employment contracts or other bonds with clubs, either under the above conditions or under such terms and conditions agreed between parties.”

The reality of the most sports associations does not fit these parameters because their teams participate at district level. According to an internal report form Sports Division of Oeiras Citu Hall, the vast majority of associations do not financially pay more than 250€ per month to more than 70% of their sports coaches.

Figure 1. Coaches compensation level in Oeiras

Clubs participating in the Portuguese League of Professional Football (LPFP) must present a coach staff composed at least by the following elements:

1st Professional League – One UEFA Pro head coach and one UEFA B assistant coach

2nd Professional League – One UEFA A head coach and one UEFA B assistant coach

According to this reality and the growing globalization of the market, many coaches are providing their services across borders with positive sports and financial results, not only as Head Coaches but also in other intervention areas.

Figure 2. Illustration with some of the Portuguese Coaches around the world (season 2019/20)

In United Kingdom [2] the first coach level is focus on U-7 players (FA Level 1) and goes until FA Level 5 which corresponds to UEFA Pro Level totalizing 6 different coach levels – FA Level 1, FA Level 2, FA Level 3 (UEFA B), FA Level 4 (UEFA A), The FA and FA Level 5 (UEFA Pro). In USA, the coach training pathway begins with Grassroots Courses (in-person or online courses) and continues with D, C, B, A-Youth, A-Senior and Pro Course (cost 10000US$).

To work abroad, the coaches must have at least UEFA B license to integrate professional and semi-professional structures validated by international associations. To work as Head Coach in the world most representative professional leagues the UEFA Pro license is always required.

Pratical applications

Rising to professional levels is only possible through the growing credited coach training.

It is crucial to identify the licensing pathway in each country to understand how long and how much it will take to become legally available to work in professional contexts. At the same time, it matters to also identify the entities that combine the State (national) and UEFA (international) orientations and allow the coaches to keep their education and training to obtain the UEFA levels.

FPF recently pointed out, through an announcement, that the Level 1 license holders graduated from private entities have only the necessity to realize the Specific component from UEFA C courses. The price difference and the legal validity related to the level 1 acquisition through the different public and private entities have been discussed by the candidates.

Once legally accredited for their activities, the coaches are responsible to promote a competent practice by ensuring a serious contractual approach respecting the existing law while continuing their formative education.

A sports manager must be able to evaluate the club professionals and their contexts. To hire a coach, an analysis should be done to his or her human profile, his or her educational path, how he or she operationalize in practical terms (specific knowledge) and work with the players regarding the competitive context.

Bibliographic references

[1] – Portugal, L. d. (4 de Maio de 2012). Contratos Coletivos. Obtido de Liga de Portugal:

[2] – República, D. d. (22 de Março de 2010). Formação de Treinadores. Obtido de Instituto Português do Desporto e Juventude:

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