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Reducing the risk of injury

The Swiss Football Association (SFV/ASF) and the Swiss national accident insurance fund SUVA have spent a number of years working together to prevent football accidents.

Working together - the Swiss FA and SUVA
Working together - the Swiss FA and SUVA ©SFV-ASF

Football is constantly evolving. The game is becoming faster, more dynamic, more popular and more competitive – all positive factors which are helping to make football even more attractive at all levels.

Unfortunately, however, that increased dynamism has brought with it an increase in the risk of injury, which explains why the Swiss national accident insurance fund (SUVA) has spent years working with the Swiss Football Association to prevent accidents.

Every year, around 45,000 people injure themselves on Switzerland’s football pitches, running up costs totalling 170 million Swiss francs. In response, SUVA has established an accident prevention programme aimed specifically at reducing the number of football-related accidents and promoting safe play. Its Safety at Community Tournaments initiative has led to a marked reduction in the risk of injury, with SUVA and tournament organisers working together to improve safety.

Indeed, the number of injuries at SUVA-supported tournaments has fallen significantly in the last few years. SUVA provides organisers of community and corporate tournaments with equipment, access to qualified referees and financial support.

A SUVA-commissioned study on accidents in Swiss football shows that 70% of all football injuries occur in the context of formal club football (50% during matches; 20% during training), with large numbers of accidents being caused by foul play. Knee injuries tend to be the main issue in this regard, resulting in long lay-offs and considerable costs.

A number of years ago, SUVA and the Swiss Football Association established the Fair Play Trophy. Every year, the country’s fairest football clubs are honoured and acknowledged, and since 2016 the winners of the trophy have had an automatic place in Switzerland’s national cup competition. Thus, amateur footballers now have a chance of playing against professional sides from the Swiss Super League, which is an incentive for all clubs to make a real commitment to fair play.

This article originally appeared in UEFA Direct No167