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The programme, launched last year by CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb and Professor Jiri Dvorak, FIFA’s Chief Medical Officer, promises to bring numerous benefits to the region by emphasizing the importance of national health to all Member Associations.
Member Association representatives, Government and National Project Leaders from seven territories – Cayman Islands, Curacao, Grenada, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico and Saint Lucia – participated in the initial seminar hosted by FIFA.
“The FIFA 11 for Health programme has gained significant momentum since its inception, encouraging participation and investment from various organisations and governments to shape future ambassadors of football and sports in general,” said CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb. “CONCACAF welcomes this project to the Caribbean region, as it is designed to infiltrate society from a grassroots level, ensuring that our population remains fit and healthy through the power of football.”
Key subject areas covered during the sessions included implementation strategy, training courses, project budget and responsibilities of the National Project Leader.
In his opening remarks, Prof. Dvorak explained the importance of collaboration in order to maximize the programme’s outcomes.
“This project is designed to increase the level of physical activity and improve awareness of communicable and non-communicable diseases globally,” he said. “We are excited to launch FIFA 11 for Health in the Caribbean and involve another region to meet our objectives in this area, and we look forward to working with CONCACAF federations to implement the programme.”
Saint Lucia’s delegation included Lyndon Cooper, president of the Saint Lucia Football Association; Victorin ‘Sugar’ Lawrence of the FA Secretariat; and Saralee Williams, from the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports.
The FIFA 11 for Health messages vary based on region. For the Caribbean, the 11 messages include respect for girls and women; protect yourself from HIV and STD’s; avoid drugs, alcohol and tobacco; eat a balanced diet; and fair play.
The next phase is for participating countries to implement FIFA 11 for Health into school curriculums, using football as a vehicle to promote healthy living from a young age, so that the advantages of a healthier and longer life can be realised.