FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter has visited St. George’s Park to inaugurate the Goal project (worth USD 500,000) awarded to the landmark development, which opened earlier this summer. The FIFA Development Committee awarded The FA’s application for Goal Programme funding towards the sports science and medical centre at St. George’s Park. It is hoped that the funding will help realise The FA’s ambition to make St. George’s Park a FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence.
"This tour has been a great experience,” said President Blatter. “The facilities here are fantastic and set a very high standard for the rest of the world. We are delighted to have made a contribution to the medical centre, which is truly impressive.
"I congratulate everyone involved. In years to come England are sure to have good teams coming through because of the opportunities St George's offers."
David Bernstein, FA Chairman, said: “This is fantastic and reflects FIFA’s commitment to raising standards within the game around the world and to our improving relationship with FIFA. I’d like to thank our colleagues at FIFA for their support of St. George’s Park as well as those who continue to work so hard on the project here in England.”
David Sheepshanks, Chairman of St. George’s Park, added: “The medical facilities at St. George’s Park will hugely advance sports medicine as we know it in England. This FIFA funding is significant in that it enables us to step up our work in the critical area of sports science, which is a key function of St. George’s Park.”
Ruth Paulin, Business Director at Perform’s Sport Science and Medical Facility at St. George’s Park, said: “The 25,000sq ft centre is fantastic in terms of size and facilities, including a world-class hydrotherapy facility, a rehab gym, with isokinetic equipment, a strength and conditioning gym, seven physiotherapy rooms, and a human performance lab, with an altitude chamber.
“Services taking place include blood testing and profiling, video gait analysis and much more: everything to help sports people achieve their maximum potential. The idea of the centre is to take the lessons from elite sport and make the technology and medical expertise accessible to the wider public, who will also be able to make appointments at the centre, or be referred to our experts.”
The Goal Programme allows each member association of FIFA to receive funding for football development projects that respond to the special needs of their national associations.
Launched in 1999 by FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, the Goal Programme has to date provided support for over 600 development projects across the world, with a total of USD 250 million having been invested in them.
The Goal Programme is now an essential source of support for member associations, as is the FIFA Financial Assistance Programme. 199 associations worldwide have already benefited from the Goal Programme.
The partnership between FIFA and The FA was further strengthened through a Memorandum of Understanding, signed by both parties, through which The FA offers its expertise in various football disciplines to FIFA member associations under the umbrella of the FIFA PERFORMANCE Programme. This expertise ranges from technical and sports medical areas via St. George’s Park, to sharing best practice in areas such as stadium safety, women’s football and revenue generation.