The inaugural session of the ECA Men’s High Performance Advisory Group took place at FIGC Centro Tecnico Federale di Coverciano on 19-20 March 2024, marking a significant milestone in the evolution of European football. Comprising club doctors, physiotherapists, and sports scientists from across Europe, this group heralds a new era of collaboration and knowledge-sharing aimed at elevating the standards of player welfare and performance in men’s football.

The genesis of this initiative stems from the resounding success of the ECA Women’s High Performance Advisory Group in previous seasons. Building upon this foundation, the newly established Men’s Hight Performance Advisory Group underscores the commitment of ECA and European clubs to fostering innovation and excellence across all aspects of the game.

The two-day event also marked the opportunity for the ECA Medical & Performance Panel to meet again in person, after its official launch in December last year. The ECA Medical & Performance Panel is the leading body in charge of shaping and driving the ECA strategy on medical and performance topics both in men’s and women’s football and it sits under the ECA Men’s Football working group chaired by ECA Workstream Lead Aki Riihilahti.

ECA Director of Football, Diederik Dewaele, said: “Players’ performance and welfare is of paramount importance for our member clubs, and it is one of the key areas on which the ECA Men’s Football working group will focus for this cycle. Consequently, our mission through this Medical and Perfoamnce Panel, with the support of the High Perfoamnce Advisory Group is to deliver unique initiatives and services to support our clubs in enhancing pitch performance and players’ wellbeing.

The event discussed a range of topics focused on performance and player welfare including presentations of case studies from clubs and an update on the UEFA ongoing projects from Zoran Bahtijarević, UEFA Chief Medical Officer and Evert Verhagen, UEFA Medical Research Advisor.

Hakim Chalabi, Paris Saint-Germain Representative and ECA Medical & Performance Panel Chair, said: “The ECA Men’s High Performance Advisory Group represents a unique opportunity for medical and performance staff to connect and share their knowledge and expertise and give tangible contribution in defining the direction to be taken by European football on players’ performance and welfare.”