New UEFA Medical Regulations strengthen player protection

The latest version of the UEFA Medical Regulations come into force on 1 January 2018 - and update requirements for the medical examination that players must undertake before playing in UEFA competitions.

UEFA Medical Committee chairman Dr Michel D'Hooghe - "UEFA is leading the way in protecting players"
UEFA Medical Committee chairman Dr Michel D'Hooghe - "UEFA is leading the way in protecting players" ©Sportsfile

A new version of the UEFA Medical Regulations – the 2017 edition – comes into force on 1 January 2018.

The regulations were approved by the UEFA Executive Committee on 1 June 2017, and were communicated to UEFA member associations in September 2017.

The new regulations have updated the requirements concerning the pre-competition medical examination (PCME) that players have to undergo before playing in a UEFA competition.

The PCME was first introduced to the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League competition regulations in 2009, and was then incorporated into the first UEFA Medical Regulations in 2013.

Until now, the PCME has only applied to players taking part in UEFA’s men’s club competitions, as well as the final rounds of all national team competitions and the UEFA Regions’ Cup.

Following the advice of the UEFA Medical Committee, the regulations have now been changed to include a basic level of PCME for all players participating in a UEFA competition.

The new regulations make it mandatory that all players participating in a UEFA competition have up-to-date medical records, and undergo an annual medical examination and an annual 12-lead ECG cardiological examination.

In addition, players participating in the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Super Cup, UEFA Youth League, UEFA European Championship and the final rounds of all other national team competitions, have to undergo annual laboratory tests, an annual orthopaedic exam and an echocardiography every two years.

Dr Michel D’Hooghe, chairman of the UEFA Medical Committee, said: “UEFA has always placed the highest importance on the welfare of the players in its competitions. It is good that the PCME now applies to all players in UEFA competitions, while the new requirement that all players have an annual ECG is fully in line with recommendations of the European Society for Cardiology and the American Heart Association.”

“Nobody should die playing football, the game we all love, and the new PCME, combined with UEFA’s existing requirements for medical provision at all matches, shows that UEFA is leading the way in protecting players.”

 

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