FIFA, the Ministry of Tourism & Sports, Education and Public Health and the Football Association of Thailand signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Tuesday, 23 February 2016, to promote the 'FIFA 11 for Health' programme and to improve public health in Thailand.

The MoU was sealed by FIFA Chief Medical Officer and F-MARC Chairman Professor Jiří Dvořák, the President of the Football Association of Thailand Pol. Gen. Somyot Poompunmoung, the Advisor to the Minister of Public Health Dr Mayura Kusum, the Deputy Minister of Education General Surachet Chaiwong and the Permanent Sercretary Ministry of Tourism & Sports Mr Pongpanu Svetarundra during a ceremony held at the Ministry of Education in Bangkok.

The MoU strengthens collaboration in the promotion and implementation of the 'FIFA 11 for Health' programme in Thailand. It was agreed in principle to outline the strategy for a ten-year programme, reaching one million children per year as from 2019. The pilot project will commence in June 2016 starting with 18 schools in Bangkok and then followed by a cascade implementation.

"The implementation of 'FIFA 11 for Health' is most fitting and timely, as the government has agreed on a policy of increasing physical activity amongst school-going children. This is in order to tackle the ever-increasing problem of non-communicable diseases, in particular over-weight children leading to an increase of diabetes. The slogan – 'Teach less - Learn more' introduced by the government is most complimentary with the concept of the 'FIFA 11 for Health' programme," said Prof. Dvořák.

'FIFA 11 for Health' is a football-based programme targeting girls and boys between the ages 11-13 years on how to lead healthy lifestyles. The programme seeks to improve the children’s knowledge, attitude and behaviour on vital health issues such as HIV, TB, malaria, diabetes, obesity and hypertension. It has been a success in more than 24 countries around the world since its introduction prior to the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.