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Chengdu: The Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) commitment to protect and promote the health and wellbeing of players in the Continent was strengthened this week after the AFC Medical Committee approved the guidelines and accreditation process for recognition as an AFC Medical Centre of Excellence.

The application process to be inducted into the AFC Medical Centres of Excellence network will from January 2018. As part of the rigorous endorsement process, medical centres in the Asia will be required to demonstrate leadership in clinical, research and education expertise, injury-prevention measures as well as experience in managing top-level football competitions.

AFC Medical Committee Chairman Dato’ Dr Gurcharan Singh, who led the discussions in Chengdu, China, said: “Football medicine has evolved immensely over the years. It is therefore imperative for Asia to ensure that our players are given the best possible diagnosis, treatment and aftercare attention.

“The AFC Medical Centres of Excellence will not only improve the accessibility and service delivery to players but ultimately ensure that footballers are in the best possible condition to achieve success on the world stage, as underlined in the AFC’s Vision and Mission.”

The Committee also approved the tagline and theme of the 6th AFC Medical Conference in Chengdu, and commemorated the launch of the new conference logo prior to the meeting.

Boasting the new tagline “Football & Sports Medicine – New Horizon," the quadrennial high-level conference will bring together internationally recognised experts from around the globe to share the latest trends and discuss future challenges in sports science and medicine over three days from March 6 to 8, 2019.

Based on the request from AFC Executive Committee the Medical Committee has put in place an elite group of researchers to study the effects on “football performance and travelling across several time zones” keeping in view the tight calendar of international and domestic matches the players are exposed per week. The consensus meeting to decide on the time zone travel guidelines and recommendations has been scheduled to take place in November 2017.

Photos: Chinese Football Association