The chief medical officers at the forthcoming FIFA World Cup™ came together last week at the FIFA Medical Excellence Centre (at the Institute of Orthopaedics and Traumatology at Sao Paulo’s Hospital das Clinicas) for the inaugural 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Medical Course.

Experts from the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Organising Committee (LOC) and FIFA took charge of the course, which was attended by medical and doping supervisors from the tournament’s 12 Host Cities and featured talks at both the Hospital das Clinicas and the Estadio do Pacaembu as well as practical healthcare sessions.

The main objective of the gathering was to ensure all supervisors have access to the same information. With the aim of ensuring first-class healthcare at the tournaments to be held in Brazil in 2013 and 2014, Professor Jiri Dvorak, chief medical officer at the last five FIFA World Cups, took the opportunity to highlight the problems encountered in previous years as well as the solutions found.

Also making a valuable contribution in terms of knowledge transfer was Professor Efraim Kramer, who was responsible for emergency procedures at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa.

“It’s very important that the Host Cities work in conjunction with the LOC and FIFA to provide the best possible service to everyone involved in the tournaments,” said Dvorak. “FIFA can see that Brazil’s public health services are of a very high quality and can meet the requirements and needs of the FIFA World Cup.”

For his part Dr Joao Mansur, the LOC’s medical supervisor, voiced his confidence that Brazil’s doctors will provide excellent healthcare: “You can be sure that the service we provide will also be a differentiating factor when it comes to healthcare. It’s very important that FIFA passes all its experience on to us.”

FIFA Medical Committee Chairman Dr Michel D’Hooghe said he was impressed by the team of people responsible for the provision of medical services in 2013 and 2014: “The World Cup isn’t just a football tournament. There’s also a TV World Cup, a referees’ World Cup and a World Cup for doctors too. It brings together the very best.”

Doping control is another issue that FIFA is paying very close attention to, with D’Hooghe confirming that the procedures implemented at South Africa 2010 will be put in place once more. World football’s governing body is also looking to introduce the biological passport, comprising blood and urine samples, for teams taking part in the FIFA Confederations Cup and FIFA World Cup.

“This is a new strategy in the fight against doping, one that draws on the experiences of the 2011 and 2012 FIFA Club World Cups,” explained Dvorak.

Following the meeting the ‘11 for Health’ programme, which has the backing of the Brazilian government and footballing idol Ronaldo, was presented to the medical supervisors. A specific programme is currently being developed for Brazil in cooperation with the ministries of Education, Health and Sport, and the Brazilian Football Association (CBF).