ZURICH: Jiri Dvorak, FIFA’s former medical chief, has criticised the world football federation forĀ ending a project educating children on how to avoid diseases like malaria and HIV.

Dvorak, told to clear his desk last autumn, told BBC World Service: “I was convinced we might help impact the health of the future generation.”

Discussing the six-year-old project, he said: “The idea was to translate those health messages into footballing language – for example, defending against infectious diseases. We took a role model to present the message to the 10, 11, 12-year-old kids.

“This is an extremely powerful tool. I have learned that when football talks, everybody listens.”

FIFA responded by saying that it “remains committed to providing the best possible medical care and services to our member associations and protecting the health of players throughout the world.”

Reviewing his sudden departure, Dvorak said: “I didn’t do anything wrong. The only explanation I can have, and maybe I’m naive, is that I was so close to Mr Sepp Blatter, who has supported the development of football medicine.”