ZURICH: Football as a health-enhancing activity took centre stage in Myanmar today during the official opening ceremony of FIFA’s first-ever ‘11 for Health’ and medical course programme in Asia.

“Myanmar’s people are passionate about football and over recent years FIFA has been helping us to harness our passion as a tool for development,” said the president of the Myanmar Football Federation, Zaw Zaw. “11 for Health gives us an excellent opportunity to address some crucial health issues and thus multiply the benefits of football for our population.”

“As in all the other countries we have visited, our intention is to establish a sustainable preventive health programme”, said FIFA’s chief medical officer Prof. Jiri Dvorak. “We hope our project in Myanmar will mark the start of a fruitful implementation of FIFA’s health programmes in Asia, and particularly in south-east Asia, a region whose population faces similar public health issues than the ones we have identified in Myanmar.”

A variety of football stars, most recently Colombia’s striker Radamel Falcao, have been lending their support to FIFA’s initiative. “Through football I have been able to understand the importance of promoting a healthy life, and particularly a balanced diet. As a role model for many children around the world, I’m committed to conveying this fundamental message,” commented Falcao in a video message.

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