With two years to go before the kick-off of the 2014 FIFA World Cup™, FIFA, the Local Organising Committee (LOC), Brazil’s football association (CBF) and the Brazilian government today joined forces to roll out FIFA’s Football for Health programme across the host nation.

The agreement was finalised during meetings today, on 25 June 2012, in the Brazilian capital of Brasilia The Ministry of Health was represented by Deputy Secretary of Health Adriano Massuda, the Ministry of Education, by the National Secretary of Basic Education Cesar Callegari, and the Ministry of Sports was on hand in the form of Executive Secretary Luis Fernandes.

“We are very enthusiastic to cooperate and become an integral partner in this project. The aim is to use the passion for football and the World Cup in our country to promote football as health-enhancing leisure and to improve social behaviors, which are goals we fully share with FIFA. The idea to use football stars as ambassadors to disseminate simple and educational health messages to tackle important social issues is simply great,” explained Adriano Massuda.

As a next step, the government will select a team to work with FIFA, the LOC and the CBF to create a customised Football for Health programme for Brazil, with the aim of implementing a pilot project in Brazilian schools ahead of the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2013. “This initiative will build on our existing programme 'Health in School' through the Ministry of Health. We will get started today to initialise the pilot phase project within the government, this really fits in with our agenda to create a legacy in education, sports and health,” said Cesar Callegari.

“Today we laid the foundations to ensure that the 2014 World Cup will serve as a catalyst to improve the life of young people in Brazil well beyond the final whistle. With the cooperation of the Brazilian government and the Brazilian football structures, we will set the ball rolling through the 11 for Health programme for the benefit of all Brazilians,” said Prof. Jiri Dvorak, FIFA’s chief medical officer, who was accompanied at the meetings by Joao Mansur Filho, LOC Chief medical officer, Raphael M. Ganem, manager of medical services for the LOC as well as Dr. Jose Luiz Runco, Chief Medical Officer for CBF.

“It is a fantastic initiative to promote social development, which is one of the most important legacies that the World Cup can leave in the country. Promoting health and education through sports activities, through football, is an opportunity and an important goal for the Brazilian government”, said Luis Fernandes, Executive Secretary.

The medical team also took advantage of the occasion to discuss the medical preparations for the FIFA Confederations Cup and the FIFA World Cup, which are well underway. The key aim is to use the FIFA World Cup to build infrastructure and expertise in the country for medical services for large events. FIFA’s chief medical officer was pleased by the unprecedented level of preparation of the medical services already at this stage.

Click on the link on the right to find out more about the Football for Health programme.