Andrew Massey, from Northern Ireland, this week began work as the new Director of FIFA’s Medical department.
After performing as a professional footballer in the Irish League, Massey initiated a successful career in sports medicine, particularly as national team doctor with the Irish Football Association and most recently as team doctor of Liverpool FC.
As Director of the Medical department, he will be responsible for improving the health of all who play football, from grassroots to elite level around the world as well as overseeing medical services at FIFA tournaments. The role will especially focus on preventing injuries on the field of play and promoting football as a healthy leisure activity.
Massey shared his first impressions as he started his new position.
What motivated you to join FIFA after a career at international and club level?
From a medical perspective this position gives an opportunity to effect change. The work of a physician at club level focuses on 25 players and offers little chance to effect the broader public. FIFA has a much bigger reach towards the public and through the establishment of policies it can have an impact on the health of players and individuals through football.
Where do you see the role of FIFA in the field of sports medicine?
FIFA can have an influence that spans across all continents, looking at football as an activity with potential underlying health benefits. With its central position, FIFA can contribute to the improvement of global health performance through the promotion of best practise over the entire football pyramid. I see it as FIFA’s role to keep the sport and players safe, and this can be done with a special focus on education.
What do you think your experience can bring to your new role at FIFA?
I have been a footballer and then team doctor at national team level and at one of the top clubs, but I also have background as a sports physician at academy level and in women’s football. So I have a very broad experience in terms of clinical health management of players at all levels of football. This knowledge of the field reality is key. As a scientist I strongly believe in the value of scientific based research to form the base for the development of policies and practises. This is the approach I want to follow at FIFA, knowing that FIFA is a global brand with a global reach.