Reminding clubs of their responsibility to have a medical doctor is not enough - MFPA

5th February 2016

MFPA’s main concern is the well-being of the players and that the health and safety of players, referees and match officials is safeguarded whilst performing their duties on the pitch. After what happened to Saviour Fidelis, MFA should take disciplinary action against the clubs who do not follow the minimum medical requirements and not just remind them. This has been going on for too long now and is not acceptable anymore.

The equipment and medical facilities to deal with accidents that have the potential to threaten lives or cause permanent injury should be first priority. The UEFA guide to minimum medical requirements for football matches should be followed for all national matches as this will ensure that everyone involved in the game is protected and safe. The UEFA Minimum Medical Requirements include the following:

1) Pitch side medical equipment: this should AT LEAST include a respiratory resuscitators with masks and airways, cervical collar set/rigid neck brace oxygen/trauma mask and tubing, portable oxygen cylinder (minimum 15l/min. for 20 minutes), infusion equipment with administration sets and solutions, defibrillator (AED), defibrillator with external pacing and CO2 monitors among other items.

2) Ambulance plus at least one paramedic: ambulance should be located in a suitable area of the stadium to permit quick access and evacuation. Ambulance should be equipped with an emergency bag and defibrillator. It must be dedicated solely to players, team officials, the referee team and match officers. Ambulance should also contain fully equipped emergency bag, AED defibrillator and portable oxygen (minimum 15l/min for 20 minutes).

3) Medical staff: Medical staff should include a trained emergency doctor present at pitch side dedicated only to the treatment of players and officials. This can be performed by the home team doctor if he is trained and qualified in emergency first aid techniques. The medical staff should also include at least two experienced carriers with first aid qualifications.

4) A medical room: The medical room should contain among other equipment the following:examination and treatment table/couch, suture materials of more than one filament size, suture packs, sharps box, ice and plastic bags, local anaesthetics, tongue depressors, alcohol swabs, gloves, bandages and wound cleaning solution.

A complete list of all the items can be found on this link: UEFA Minimum Medical Requirements

The match delegate should rigorously check that all items mentioned above are available before the start of matches irrespective of the stadium. All stadia should be equipped and follow the above guidelines.

In the coming weeks MFPA will offer the possibility to one player from each Premier League club to attend a first aid course. The idea is to have at least one player taking charge of the first-aid arrangements and calling the emergency services when required. Later on MFPA also intends to offer another course so that all clubs will have a qualified first aider who can give first aid treatment in the event of an injury or illness even during training.

MFPA hopes that what happened last week serves as an eye opener and encourages the Maltese federation and clubs to fully abide with the UEFA minimum medical requirements so that what happened last weekend does not repeat itself.