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'My body is my temple!'

This is a famous statement by Edgar Davids, former professional footballer of Ajax, Juventus and the Dutch national team among others, endorsing how important a healthy body and an optimal health are for any player.

When it comes to players' health, the World Players' Union (FIFPro) – the voice of more than 65,000 players worldwide – puts the health of professional footballers in a life span perspective, concurring then with the statements of the World Health Organization (WHO) and International Labour Organizations (ILO). Consequently, FIFPro aims to protect and promote the sustainable physical, mental and social health of professional footballers, both during and after their football career.

Striving to rely on the latest evidence-based medical knowledge and on international collaboration partners, FIFPro assesses especially the following critical aspects:

  • cumulative exposure to training and competition (match congestion i.e. fixture) that might lead to excessive workload;
  • occurrence and recurrence of (severe) injuries and related return to play decisions;
  • environmental conditions such as altitude, heat conditions or playing surface;
  • thoroughly application of available medical guidelines (concussion, pre-competition medical assessment...);
  • equality of all professional footballers in all clubs when it comes to minimum medical standard, regardless continents or countries;
  • mental health, both during and after a football career;
  • long-term health consequences of a football career, especially osteoarthritis.

FIFPro will always defend the health and safety of professional footballers as both aspects are of paramount significance. Being workers in the eyes of the law, professional footballers should have the same (labor) rights as any employees in any occupational category and the same rights from one employer to another, especially when it comes to their health and safety. Consequently, FIFPro emphasizes that football authorities including FIFA, confederations, clubs and member associations are legally obliged to provide players with healthy and safe working conditions during each international and national competition and cannot subordinate this obligation to other business considerations.

For FIFPro, the sustainable physical, mental and social health of any professional footballer is not negotiable!