FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter visited St. George’s Park and its Perform facility today to inaugurate the Goal project (worth USD 500,000) awarded to the landmark development, which opened earlier this summer.
The FIFA Development Committee awarded The FA’s application for Goal Programme funding towards the Perform sports science, performance and medical centre at St. George’s Park. It is hoped that the funding will help realise The FA’s ambition to make St. George’s Park a FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence.
Joseph S. Blatter, FIFA President, said: “I have visited a lot of centres of excellence in the world but I have not seen such a centre as this installed. It will only be a question of time that we will be able to give this centre the FIFA Centre of Excellence F-marc.
“FIFA is committed to the development of football across the world, and the Goal projects are crucial in achieving this mission. These projects provide concrete assistance needed by each national association in the form of technical centres, football turf pitches and other infrastructure. Protecting the health of the players is one of our key objectives and I am therefore very pleased that this project will be dedicated to a sports science and medical centre at such an emblematic location as St. George’s Park.”
Neil McCullough, Business Development Director for Spire Healthcare, said: “The 25,000sq ft centre is fantastic in terms of size and facilities, including a world-class hydrotherapy facility, a rehab gym, with isokinetic equipment; a strength and conditioning gym, seven physiotherapy rooms, and a human performance lab, with an altitude chamber.
“Services taking place include blood testing and profiling, video gait analysis and much more: everything to help sports people achieve their maximum potential. The idea of the centre is to take the lessons from elite sport and make the technology and medical expertise accessible to the wider public, who will also be able to make appointments at the centre, or be referred to our experts.”
David Sheepshanks, Chairman of St. George’s Park, added: “The medical facilities at St. George’s Park will hugely advance sports medicine as we know it in England. This FIFA funding is significant in that it enables us to step up our work in the critical area of sports science, which is a key function of St. George’s Park.”
Ian Beasley, The FA’s Head of Medical Services, commented: “It is the UK’s first totally integrated sports medicine centre, supported by an advanced research programme, and has all the latest equipment. There are a number of centres worldwide which have similar kinds of offering, but nowhere in the UK, so it has been set up on the back of wide consultation with sports medicine experts about what is needed. We are also hoping to earn accreditation as a FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence.”
The Goal Programme allows each member association of FIFA to receive funding for football development projects that respond to the special needs of their national associations.
Launched in 1999 by FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, the Goal Programme has to date provided support for over 600 development projects across the world, with a total of USD 250 million having been invested in them.
The services and facilities at Perform St George’s Park are used by the 24 England football teams and has most recently hosted the England Rugby League team. The services are accessible to all, for those from the local community wanting to access physiotherapy to fitness and performance assessments.
Perform operates at six sites across the UK and is part of Spire Healthcare, a leading provider of private healthcare, with 38 private hospitals throughout the UK.