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New Study published in the Asian Journal of Sports Medicine highlights the effectiveness of the Minimum Medical Standards (MMS) in reducing the incidence of injury and games missed as a result in the A-League.

Undertaken by FIFPro, the world players’ association and Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) the objective of the study was to explore whether the introduction of the MMS had led to a decrease in games missed a result of injury and the number of injuries suffered.

Examining five consecutive seasons of the A-League the study revealed that the introduction of the MMS ahead of the 2011/12 season had resulted in an immediate 68% decrease in the number of games missed due to injury when compared to the previous campaign when they were not in place.

Whilst also highlighting their effectiveness in reducing the incidence of injury, the research also identified three key aspects of the MMS in reducing the injury rates in the A-League:

  • medical testing, prior to the commencement of competition;
  • the mandatory presence of a qualified physiotherapist at all training sessions and games; and
  • the mandatory presence of a Club Doctor at all matches.

Despite having reduced the rates of injury and games missed as a result the study revealed the continued high costs associated with injury for A-League clubs. In the five seasons that were examined, from the 2008/09 to the 2012/13 Season, the study showed that injuries had cost clubs in excess of $23 million.

FIFPro Chief Medical Officer Vincent Gouttebarge said, “The approach of the PFA with regard to monitoring injury occurrence in the A-League and implementing Minimum Medical Standards through collective bargaining agreement is a very good example for other players’ unions. A basic structure within professional football clubs leads to a decrease of injuries, which empower the health and safety of players as well as their performances!”

With the study cautioning that the effectiveness of the MMS required ongoing review, PFA Chairman Craig Foster said the findings highlighted the importance of the MMS being part of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

“The introduction of the Minimum Medical Standards was a matter that the PFA pushed for a number of seasons prior to their introduction and demonstrate how effective the partnership between the PFA and Football Federation Australia can be,” said Foster.

“The recently agreed A-League CBA has seen further strengthening of the Minimum Medical Standards and this study highlights the effectiveness of including these measures as part of the CBA to ensure that they are continually reviewed and analysed and that players have a voice in shaping measures that affect their health and safety.

“For the A-League to be at its best it is critical that the best players are on the pitch regularly. If this is not the case the attractiveness of the on pitch product is severely reduced.”

Click here for the full study

For media information

Beau Busch
Media and Communications Manager PFA Australia
+61 (0) 432 763 485