Tuesday 11 December 2012
The Premier League has been praised by the British Council for the part it has played in the United Kingdom achieving the No 1 ranking in Monocle magazine's 'soft power' survey.
In its annual survey the global-affairs magazine put the UK top of the pile for the first time, replacing the United States and indicating that it has more cultural influence than any other nation in the world.
"Our work around the world with the Premier League brings English, inspiration and practical skills to young people's lives"
The British Council – the UK's international cultural relations body – welcomed the contribution made by the Premier League in the country's position as the leading 'soft power', the term used to describe the ways in which a nation can shape the world without relying on financial muscle and overwhelming force.
"Our work around the world with the Premier League brings English, inspiration and practical skills to young people's lives," said John Worne, the British Council's Director of Strategy. "That's one of the reasons the UK is No 1 in 2012: teamwork and sharing the best of the UK worldwide.
"To know us is to love us and the survey goes to show that, when the UK puts its culture and excellence on the world's stage as it has in 2012, everyone's a winner."
The Premier League and British Council work together on the ground-breaking global initiative Premier Skills. Premier Skills combines the reach of the British Council with the global appeal of the Premier League to develop community coaches and referees.
Drawing upon the Premier League clubs' expertise in delivering community-focused projects in the UK, it teaches people how to use football to tackle a variety of social issues relevant all over the world such as health, disability, gender, inclusion and education.
Since 2007 Premier Skills has been delivered across 20 countries in Asia, Africa and the Americas, offering more than 2,300 grassroots coaching and refereeing training opportunities, and benefiting over 400,000 young people.
"The Premier League and our clubs have a long-held commitment for delivering high-quality community and education programmes"
In addition to the coach and referee training, a range of materials including a dedicated website have been created for teachers and learners of English that utilise football-based content and the British Council's world-class expertise in English.
Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore said: "At home the Premier League and our clubs have a long-held commitment and reputation for delivering high-quality community and education programmes. Given our popularity and success internationally we felt it only right to take this approach to a wider community.
"The British Council is a partner we really value and trust. On the ground, around the world they have the access, contacts and people to make things happen."
Worne also cited the success of the Olympic and Paralympics Games in helping the UK to achieve No 1 status, which can have a positive economic impact.
"We may call it 'soft power', but there's nothing soft about the economic dividends that a great reputation overseas can bring," said Worne. "Our own research this year showed that our soft power assets are helping to build trust worldwide – and that, vitally, those who trust us are more interested in doing business with us."
The British Council works in more than 100 countries worldwide to build trust, opportunity and prosperity for the UK through English, education and the arts.