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Football Scores Goals for Health

15 May 2017

The power of football to positively impact on the health of fans, local communities and stadium workforces was the clear message delivered by clubs, associations and stadium operators to over 200 delegates at the fourth European Healthy Stadia Conference held at Arsenal FC’s Emirates Stadium on Thursday 27th April.



The Conference celebrated 10 years of the European Healthy Stadia movement which guides clubs and stadium operators on developing venues as ‘health promoting settings’. Building on previous conferences in Geneva and Manchester, the 2017 edition of the conference had a specific focus on the growing number of partnerships between academic researchers and the football family in Europe.


One such example presented on the day was the EuroFIT Programme which has recently been adopted by the Portuguese Football Federation. EuroFIT uses professional football clubs and their stadia to increase levels of physical activity and reduce sitting time amongst overweight football fans, and successes to date were presented by programme lead, Professor Sally Wyke from University of Glasgow, and André Seabra, Director of the Portuguese Football Federation’s National Football School.


The conference also previewed the Make A Healthy Heart Your Goal campaign that will run at UEFA Women’s EURO in the Netherlands this summer that will promote heart health to women and families through a partnership of UEFA, World Heart Federation, KNVB and the Dutch Heart Foundation.


Other examples of good practice on the day included mental health first aid training for club academies in England delivered by the Premier League, a healthier eating programme for young people entitled Eat Move Sleep delivered by football clubs across Norway by the Norwegian Football Federation, and the tobacco-free stadium policy implemented at EURO 2016 in France by UEFA in partnership with European Healthy Stadia Network.


Commenting on the conference, Marc Nipius (CSR, Royal Dutch Football Association) commented:


“KNVB was pleased to speak at the European Healthy Stadia Conference 2017 to share upcoming work on the Make a Healthy Heart Your Goal campaign for UEFA Women’s EURO 2017, and to learn about good practices in health interventions delivered through sport. KNVB will focus their domestic CSR strategy on healthy lifestyles, especially for children. In the Netherlands only 23% of the children get their daily recommended amount of exercise. Our goal is to improve this number to encourage children to play football at the grassroots clubs but also exercise at home.”


Speaking about the event, Matthew Philpott, Executive Director of European Healthy Stadia Network said:


The European Healthy Stadia Network is proud to host its fourth European Conference at the Emirates Stadium. We are particularly pleased to bring together a wide range of clubs, governing bodies and health agencies, and in addition many academic researchers who are helping sports organisation to measure the impact of stadium policies and community interventions promoting health.”



The Conference was organised by the European Healthy Stadia Network, and supported by the World Heart Federation through its partnership with UEFA –


Further Information: Matthew Philpott – + 44 151 237 2686 / +44 7826 533013 matthew.philpott(at)