Slovenia has its first FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence. The Institute of Sports Medicine (ISM) at the University of Maribor, the University Medical Centre Maribor, the Science and Research Centre at the University of Primorska and the National Football Centre in Brdo have received joint accreditation after FIFA evaluated the expertise and quality of care provided to elite and amateur athletes.

Dr Michel D’Hooghe, a member of the FIFA Council and the chairman of the FIFA Medical Committee, officially awarded the prestigious certification to all four centres as the only such institutions to be granted this recognition not only in Slovenia. Maribor has thus joined a select band of almost 50 FIFA Medical Centres of Excellence, including facilities in Barcelona, London, New York, Bangkok, Munich, Poznań, Madrid and Doha.

Together with its partners, the ISM in Maribor is a multidisciplinary institution, bringing together experts from the fields of orthopaedics and trauma surgery, injury prevention, sports cardiology and internal medicine, radiological diagnostics, physiotherapy, kinesiology, sports nutrition and psychology. Its services are used by a wide range of athletes, with Maribor Football Club and the national football team being two of its main beneficiaries. The institute also has strong links with the National Olympic Committee, having been involved in several Olympic Games.

Besides its clinical endeavours, the new FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence is a firm advocate of incorporating scientific work in its everyday practice. One of the centre’s priorities is to regularly publish scientific projects and attend experts’ meetings.

As a part of the university, the ISM focuses on academic growth and spreading awareness of sports medicine issues, and organises undergraduate and postgraduate courses, sports medicine conferences and other educational events.

“It is an honour to receive such a high recognition of our work and expertise and to join such an exclusive network of sports medicine centres of excellence,” said ISM Principal Professor Matjaz Vogrin. “As it is an award for our past work, we also see it as a challenge for our future goals and development.”