Today, June 11 2008, represents exactly two years to the kickoff of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ and more and more programmes are being rolled out by the event organisers as the tournament fast approaches.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee South Africa (OC) today appointed a team of the country's top healthcare experts to serve as the OC's Medical Advisory Team. It also announced the names of the 10 Venue Medical Officers who will work at each of the World Cup stadiums.

Reflecting on the road travelled since the South African Football Association first embarked on the bid to host the FIFA World Cup back in 1994, the OC's Chief Executive Officer Dr Danny Jordaan said he was satisfied with the work underway and confident the tournament would live up to high expectations.

With construction on all the World Cup stadiums progressing well and on track to meet FIFA deadlines, Dr Jordaan revealed that the process to start recruiting the approximately 5 000 volunteers who will be needed during the FIFA Confederations Cup 2009 will start with the volunteer application process on July 1 2008 and run for two months till the end of August.

The OC is also finalising its operational plans for the FIFA Confederations Cup 2009 in time for the deadline to submit to FIFA by the end of June this year. A partnership between the country's Department of Education and the OC to involve five million school pupils in the promotion of the tournament has also been launched recently.

The Medical Advisory Team, chaired by the Professor of Sports Medicine at the University of Cape Town and senior Sports Physician at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa, Professor Martin Schwellnus, has been appointed to ensure the involvement and assistance of the local healthcare industry in the implementation of FIFA and the OC's Health and Medical Services Plan for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ and the FIFA Confederations Cup 2009™.

The Medical Advisory Team will participate in the formulation of policies, protocols and standard operating procedures for provision of essential medical services at various venues and events. This includes the 24 hour availability of specialist and sports medicine services for the participating teams. It will also coordinate scientific support, medical education and training for the healthcare providers working on the tournament.

The OC is pleased and honoured that luminaries such as world-renowned sports scientist Professor Tim Noakes and leading neurosurgeon Professor Sam Mokgokong and cardiologist Professor Bongani Mayosi have agreed to serve in the advisory team.

The overall medical programme ranging from injury prevention, nutrition consultation to anti-doping activities pre and during the FIFA World Cup™ and the FIFA Confederations Cup 2009 is managed by FIFA Chief Medical Officer Prof Jiri Dvorak, in close collaboration with OC General Medical Officer Dr Victor Ramathesele.

"Knowing the high standard of medical care at the different South African University and private hospitals, I have no doubt that already now the medical facilities in South Africa will satisfy the FIFA World Cup requirements. We still have time for improvement and will exercise our collaboration for the first time during the FIFA Confederations Cup in June 2009", said Prof. Dvorak, for whom 2010 will be his fifth FIFA World Cup as FIFA Chief Medical Officer.

Doping control is next to injury prevention one of the key issues of FIFA World Cup™ activities, with the OC being responsible to provide doping control services and infrastructure for all matches in coordination with the FIFA Medical Department. Khalid Galant, the newly appointed Chief Executive Officer of the South African Institute for Drug-free Sport and Dr. Pieter van Der Merwe, head of the WADA-accredited Doping Control Laboratory of the University of Free State in Bloemfontein, are also on the advisory team and will ensure that the best services will be provided for those tournaments.

"Our medical team is supported by the FIFA Medical Officers appointed to coordinate medical activities, research and doping control services at each match venue. These individuals work in close collaboration with the OC Venue Medical Officers, who are responsible for the management of all medical services in the match venue and Host City, including transfer of patients to accredited hospitals. The OC takes great pleasure in welcoming ten accomplished doctors who will be serving in this capacity for both tournaments and related events" said the Chief Executive Officer of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee South Africa, Dr Danny Jordaan.

These are professionals who have been chosen for their expertise and experience in the areas of research, emergency medicine, mass gathering medicine and sports medicine. They also have vast knowledge of the medical personnel and services in the Host Cities they are responsible for. The LOC Medical Officers will establish for each stadium a medical centre for Players and Match Officials and another for FIFA, the OC and their guests. In addition they will also manage the two stretcher teams for the pitch, each comprising a doctor and four paramedics.

They will be working closely with Government service providers who will be managing emergency medical posts for spectators and the media in the stadium. The appointment of Mr. Peter Fuhri (Head of the National Department of Health's 2010 Unit) to the OC Medical Advisory Team ensures the necessary collaboration with Government structures and services at all levels.

Dr. Victor Ramathesele, the OC's General Medical Officer, said: "We are delighted and highly encouraged by the number of healthcare professionals who have heeded this call and the cooperation we have received from the South African Football Association, the regions, the Premier Soccer League and the clubs in this regard."

The following members have been appointed to the LOC Medical Advisory Team:

Chairperson: Prof. Martin Schwellnus
Members: Dr Victor Ramathesele, Prof. Efraim Kramer, Prof. Sam Mokgokong, Prof. Tim Noakes, Prof. Mike Lambert, Prof. Bongani Mayosi, Prof. Pieter van der Merwe, Mr. Peter Fuhri, Mr. Khalid Galant

Ex-officio members:
Mr. Dennis Mumble (Chief Competitions Officer)

Secretary:
Ms Mapule Mogane

OC Venue Medical Officers: Professor Efraim Kramer (Soccer City), Dr Demitri Constantinou (Ellis Park), Professor Wayne Derman (Cape Town), Dr Christo Janse Van Rensburg (Tshwane/Pretoria), Dr Mmuso Ramantsi (Rustenburg), Dr Eric Neluheni (Polokwane), Dr Maki Ramagole (Mbombela), Dr Louis Holtzhauzen (Mangaung/Bloemfontein), Dr Mtunzi Ngcelwane (Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth), Dr Mzukisi Grootboom (Durban)