The Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB) is the first in the world to have its own FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence.
FIFA Executive Committee member Dr Michel D'Hooghe, who also chairs the medical committees of FIFA and UEFA, announced the news on 14 October, after the KNVB's sports medicine centre (SMC) in Zeist was officially awarded the title.
"During my visit to the SMC in April, I was highly impressed by the facilities, the available knowledge and the professional attitude," Dr D'Hooghe said. "Even then I knew I would have no difficulty drafting a positive recommendation for FIFA. There are other centres of excellence in the world, but I must compliment the KNVB on the way it has positioned the SMC within the structure of the football association."
KNVB president Michael van Praag noted that ten years ago the SMC had taken a valuable step in seeking to collaborate with the medical centre of the University of Utrecht, a move that resulted in the creation of the University Centre for Sports Medicine. This provided an impetus in terms of quality of care, research and the treatment of sport injuries.
There are currently ten FIFA-accredited centres worldwide. The aim is eventually to accredit 50 to 60 such centres, for which the Dutch can serve as a blueprint.