Media Release

Federation Internationale de Football Association

FIFA Strasse 20, P.O Box 8044 Zurich, Switzerland, +41 (0) 43 222 7777

Cardiological tests a must: The goal is a Doping-free football festival

Effective prevention is a top priority for the medical department of world football's governing body in the run-up to the 2006 FIFA World Cup™. FIFA chief medical officer Professor Jiri Dvorak emphasised the crucial importance of prevention during the team workshop in Düsseldorf. The 160 or so sports doctors attending the 2nd International Football and Sports Medicine Conference were given not only an overview of current knowhow but also practical tips for day-to-day use. The scope of sports medicine encompasses much more than the battle against doping. Activities range from preventing and treating injury to avoiding over-training and conducting medical check-ups.

The right nutrition can optimise performance during play and training. Dietary supplements, on the other hand, offer no advantages to footballers and can even lead to a positive doping test if they contain prohibited substances. With the help of international experts, FIFA has therefore produced guidelines that summarise in layman' terms current knowhow on nutrition for footballers in time for the FIFA World Cup™.

The team doctors were briefed on the FIFA Sports Medical Committee's recommendations regarding precautions and the Doping Control Regulations in a special workshop. The medical teams also received first-aid defibrillators from Philips in addition to copies of the FIFA Medical Resource Kit. This electrical equipment will be available to players, officials and spectators in the event of sudden cardiac arrest during the 2006 FIFA World Cup™.

In any case, all of the players in the 32 finalist teams will undergo a general medical check-up as well as thorough cardiovascular and electrocardiogram tests so as to avert the possible need for defibrillators as far as possible. "Thorough preventive examinations can reduce the risk of sudden cardiac arrest. As the attention of the whole world will be focused on the World Cup in Germany, FIFA is sending out a clear signal that the footballers' well-being takes pride of place," commented Professor Jiri Dvorak. "The players' health is the most important criterion. Our sports medical knowledge on preventing injury and taking effective precautions has enabled us to recommend a sound preventive programme including specific examinations," explained Professor Dvorak, who is also chairman of the FIFA Medical Assessment and Research Centre (F-MARC).

The medical slogan for the forthcoming FIFA World Cup is "An injury- and doping-free football festival for 2006". During the workshop, every team doctor signed a joint declaration, pledging to support FIFA's anti-doping strategy. The specially trained FIFA doping doctors will be conducting random tests in matches leading up to the World Cup from March to June as well as in FIFA World Cup™ training camps. Four players from each team will be tested under this initiative.

FIFA has been active in the sphere of sports medicine ever since the mid-1970s. In 1994, F-MARC was established and the first medical centre opened in Zurich in May 2005. The centre offers a football-specific diagnosis service, as well as therapy, with second opinions on illnesses and injuries forming a key part of the service. The medical centre also assists world football's governing body in its long-term fight against doping. More than 22,000 doping tests are conducted on footballers every year.