FIFA chief medical officer attacks food supplements

By Oliver Nieburg

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Food supplements Food and drug administration Dietary supplement Vitamin

FIFA chief medical officer attacks food supplements
Football governing body FIFA’s chief medical officer claims that nutritional supplements will not boost the performance of athletes “based upon the scientific evidence”.

In an interview with the FIFA website Professor Jiri Dvorak said that food supplement use is widespread among footballers, particularly young ones, but claimed scientific evidence about the performance-enhancing effects were lacking.

Widespread use

“Around 35% of all players are regularly taking food supplements​,” he said, based upon data from the last four World Cups.

“But the more surprising fact is that almost 50% of the U-17 and U-20 players at World Cup level are also taking supplements.”

“We know that about 60% of U-16 athletes in the USA are using nutritional supplements daily. This is definitely not based upon the scientific evidence or literature, which says the opposite, that any of the food supplements, except in certain medical conditions, will improve your performance.”

‘Contamination risk’

Dvorak added that it was “alarming” ​that the vast majority of young athletes did not consult a nutritional specialist physician before taking the supplements and simply believed it would boost their performance.

“Scientists and nutritional specialists agree that a well-balanced diet will supply the body with the appropriate amount of nutrients it needs for top performance,” ​he continued.

According to Dvorak, most dietary supplements are not subject to quality control and manufacturers are therefore not obliged to disclose the full contents despite measures from official authorities, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US.

FIFA issues warning to players

He called on authorities to subject food supplements to quality control as many are contaminated with anabolic steroids and other substances that could cause athletes to fail drug tests, he claimed.

“FIFA has issued a serious warning to football players not to take any food supplements that have not been passed by national drug and food administrations,”​ he said. has contacted industry bodies for reaction.

To contact the reporter of this story to share your thoughts please see HERE.

Related news

Show more


Show more

What a ridiculous statement from the CMO.

Posted by Harris Miller,

Yet another MD who doesn't understand and wasn't trained in nutrition - talking about nutrition. Like any other profession, MDs have no credibility in an arena in which they weren't trained.

Any doctor who doesn't get that a body under physical stress requires nutrients that are capable of addressing the issues caused by that additional stress, is not a doctor worth listening to. Major players in every sport have someone trained in nutritional biochemistry who assists them in determining THEIR body's requirements - which focus on the extreme oxidative stress that they put their bodies through during training.

Report abuse

A Supplement a day keeps the coach happy

Posted by Dr Peter Dingle,

This is an absurd statement. There is so much good science out there on the benefits of supplementation. not just in improving sporting performance but also repair and healing which is an ongoing issue in any sport. What concerns me most is that professional athletes are continually placing there body under stress which puts even more requirements for supplementation than most.
FIFA needs to read the scientific journals before they make comments. i would also be suprised if it was not 80% or more of professional footballers supplement.

Report abuse

Is Dr Dvorak looking at the wrong evidence?

Posted by Robert Verkerk PhD,

It seems that Dr Dvorak may be looking mainly at the big meta-analyses on vitamin E, the CARET and ATBC trials on beta-carotene, and the like. He may also have seen some not so well conducted studies on creatine. But he certainly hasn't got input from the gaggle of sports scientists and physiologists who have been eking extra performance, and possibly more importantly, accelerated recovery, out of athletes by looking at every aspect of their training programs, diets, lifestyle, mental/emotional state — as well as their supplements. Relying on published evidence from experimental trials is not necessarily the best way of trying to work out what happens in the real world.

Report abuse

Follow us


View more