More fun, fewer injuries: FIFA, world football's governing body, has joined forces with the Swiss football association (SFV) and the Swiss national accident insurance fund (Suva) to launch a new training programme called "The 11". Ten exercises and more fair play should help to ensure that football matches do not have to end with a trip to hospital.

At a media conference held in Zurich today (Wednesday, 22 September), FIFA, the SFV and Suva unveiled their joint prevention campaign, "The 11", which is a training programme with ten exercises to help prevent the most common injuries in football. Fair play is the eleventh and final element, as unsportsmanlike conduct on the football pitch can dramatically increase the risk of injury. The objective of this campaign is to reduce the risk of sustaining an injury by 10% over the next five years (see inset). As FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter stressed in his welcome address, sport should be fun for everyone, and FIFA supports any initiatives that help to reduce football-related injuries to an absolute minimum.


With over 600,000 active players, football is the most popular ball game in Switzerland, and as a result, more than 40,000 players, of both genders, sustain injuries while playing each year. Aside from the physical pain and the cumulated total of more than 500,000 days off work, these injuries cost accident insurers more than CHF 110 million each year.


Pilot project in Switzerland

"The 11", a training programme designed to strengthen key groups of muscles, has been devised by the FIFA Medical Assessment and Research Centre (F-MARC), led by Prof. Jiri Dvorak, who explained that the campaign would first be introduced as a pilot project in Switzerland, and if successful, subsequently launched worldwide. The programme is based around a DVD in five languages that guides the viewer through each exercise and explains each and every step, as well as a practical brochure with the relevant explanations. Billboards and printed advertisements will also be used to raise public awareness of the campaign, while a television commercial is also planned for 2005.


Coaches as disseminators

Under the guidance of SFV Technical Director Hansruedi Hasler, those responsible for education and training at the SFV have already agreed to include "The 11" as a fixed element of their coaches' education programme. As Hasler explained at the media conference, all SFV instructors will be given an in-depth introduction to "The 11" in autumn 2004, and as of spring 2005, "The 11" will be an integral part of all training courses for coaches. By the end of 2006, all 7,000 coaches in Switzerland will be trained and in a position to teach "The 11". In other words, by 2007 at the latest, the 220,000 players registered in Switzerland, and hopefully the 400,000 who enjoy the game in their spare time, will have at least one thing in common during their training exercises: "The 11".

(Inset)
Risk of injury

In the run-up to EURO 2008, which will be co-hosted by Switzerland and Austria, there is likely to be a dramatic increase in the number of players in youth and amateur football. For that reason, the success of this campaign will not be judged by the number of injuries sustained, but by the risk of sustaining an injury. With this in mind, the number of injuries per 1,000 licensed footballers will be recorded prior to the start of the campaign, and again in 2008. Suva's objective is to reduce this figure by 10%.


For more information, please contact:

FIFA:
Markus Siegler, FIFA Director of Communications
Hitzigweg 11, 8030 Zurich
Tel. 043/222 72 72, Fax 043/222 73 73
E-mail: media@fifa.org


SFV:
Hansruedi Hasler, SFV Technical Director
P.O. Box 3000, Berne 15
Tel. 043/950 81 91, Fax 043/950 81 81
E-mail: hasler.hansruedi@football.ch


Suva:
Barbara Salm, Public Relations
Suva, Fluhmattstrasse 1, 6002 Lucerne
Tel. 041/419 50 25, Fax 041/419 60 62
E-Mail: barbara.salm@suva.ch

Press photographs and graphics are available for download at http://www.suva.ch/medien . There is no charge for this service.


FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) is world football's governing body and the umbrella organisation for 205 member associations. According to its Statutes, FIFA is responsible for improving football, supervising the international game and organising its own international competitions in various categories. As parts of its development activities, FIFA is also active in sports medical research, including the prevention of injuries.


As the biggest and most popular sports association in Switzerland, the SFV is responsible for Swiss football in sporting, political, commercial and social terms at both home and abroad. The SFV is a financially independent body and is not reliant on government support. The SFV is also responsible for football, from the grassroots to the pinnacle of the domestic game, and places particular importance on youth development work.


As an independent body in the public sector, Suva insures approximately 100,000 companies and 1.8 million employees and unemployed persons against injury and occupational illness. Suva is also involved in preventing, insuring and rehabilitating, while Suva's clients can expect a competent, results-driven service as well as fair and courteous treatment. Suva is a non-profit-making organisation and does not receive government subsidies. The Suva management board is made up of employers, employees and representatives of the government.

 

FIFA Media Department
Tel.: +41-43/222 7272 - Fax: +41-43 222 7373 or E-Mail: media@fifa.org
FIFA Communications Division