Action Day – Health & Well-being
On 7 April we are calling all clubs, leagues and FAs to highlight their health and well-being initiatives. We have gathered a few examples of how football organisations have implemented health and well-being programmes.
Sport has a role to play in achieving many different health objectives. Participation in physical activity can have a significant impact on the health of individuals and communities. The physical, social, emotional and cognitive benefits of sport are recognised (see the UNICEF & Barça Foundation ‘Getting into the Game: Understanding the Evidence for Child-Focused Sport for Development‘ report).
EFDN Florence Programme
The EFDN Florence programme is named after Florence Nightingale and ‘Floor’, the niece of EFDN’s CEO Hubert Rovers who suffered a spinal cord injury at the beginning of 2021 and became paralyzed from the waist down at the age of 14. The EFDN Florence programme provides ill children and young people with the opportunity to become the FAN of the Match from a distance. This initiative will see the robot drive onto the pitch together with the players making it possible for a fan who cannot attend the match due to illness to join the warming-up, line-up, watch the game from the sidelines and join the players after the game during their lap of honour.
Walking Football League
The Walking Football League aims to deliver health-enhancing physical activity to people over the age of 50 years old, as well as provide opportunities to increase social inclusion levels allowing them to lead a physically and socially active lifestyle in their European community. The Walking Football League will further develop Walking Football as a sustainable sport in Europe and raise the profile of the game. The project partners include: Vålerenga Fotball, Ferencvárosi Torna Club, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Rangers Charity Foundation, Fundação Benfica, Real Betis Balompié Foundation, FC Schalke 04, Morton in the Community, Newcastle United Foundation and Eintracht Frankfurt.
Healthy Football League
The Healthy Football League is free to use for all European football fans, clubs, leagues and national Football Associations. EFDN members have additional features such as customised leagues with local schools, grassroots clubs or community teams and they can create special medals which they can link to their local health programmes. EFDN members can also include all match days in the app which provides their fans the opportunity to score additional points in the competition if they come to the stadium by bike or on foot. Clubs can engage even more with their fans by awarding discount on tickets and merchandise or giving away premium match day experiences if they are on top of the monthly league table.
The club that wins the competition will be officially awarded as the Healthiest club in Europe!
Scoring for Health
Scoring for Health encourages children from 7 to 14 years and their parents to adopt a healthy lifestyle and make them aware of healthy nutrition. This programme will be running for 3 years, where 3 periods of 20 weeks of various activities will be delivered by the participating football clubs and the Portuguese FA in cooperation with local schools and health organisations. Each cycle of the programme starts and finishes with a sporting event at the respective stadiums or elite academies. Participants will be given specialist interactive classes, learning sessions and workshops on a weekly basis on topics such as nutrition, cooking, physical activity and football sessions. The launch events for the programme will be held at the stadiums or elite academies of the participating clubs where, with players from the club supporting them, the pupils will have the opportunity to enjoy a day of sports and games as well as several educational workshops. Key physical indicators and health determinants (weight, height, BMI, speed, balance etc) will also be measured, collected and calculated for each participant, giving an instant analysis of each child’s fitness and providing a scientific basis for allowing comparisons and defining the participants’ progress.
Many of our members also have amazing health initiatives we want to highlight:
OFI CRETE FC
In October 2019, OFI Crete FC organised a campaign, “We are all in the same team”, in collaboration with the Panhellenic Cancer Prevention Society “Stohos – Prolipsi”, including a series of actions, to highlight the importance of prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. In the two home matches that took place in October 2019 the club’s players, while entering the stadium, wore T-shirts with the pink ribbon, which is the international symbol against breast cancer and the message “We are all in the same team”. OFI gave access to October’s home games to every woman, who was interested, with a symbolic ticket price of 2 euros. All the money raised from the tickets were given to the Panhellenic Cancer Prevention Society. The year after, in October 2020, for the second time, OFI Crete FC stood next to women who battle against breast cancer, by organizing a series of actions. In collaboration with a local Diagnostic Center and sponsor of the team, “Asklipios Diagnosis”, the club offered the opportunity to 15 women to undergo a free clinical breast examination, while all the women who were interested received a 10% discount. On October 18th, during a match against Panathinaikos F.C. in the “Theodoros Vardinogiannis” Stadium, OFI footballers wore match shirts with the pink ribbon, the international symbol of breast cancer awareness. Also, the captains of the two teams entered the stadium, before kick off, wearing T-shirts with the message “We Care”, while T-shirts with a relevant message were worn by all those who worked on the stadium that day.
In addition to that, OFI Crete released a video, called “Join the fight!”, where footballers’ wives and female staff members talked about the importance of prevention and early diagnosis.
Last Saturday, 26 March, the 3rd edition of the Club Brugge Foundation Stadium Run took place in, around and through the Jan Breydel Stadium. Spread over the entire day, 688 enthusiastic runners and walkers came in various start waves to enjoy a unique run through some exceptional areas of the Jan Breydel Stadium. During this 3rd edition of the Stadium Run, extra effort was put into entertainment along the route. From the stirring sounds of the bagpipes and drums, DJ beats in the players’ tunnel, life-size photo boards of the Club players in the changing room to taking a photo with the real Champions’ Cup on entering the hallowed turf of the Jan Breydel Stadium! Towards the end of the track, there was a real blue ‘Colour Street’. All proceeds of this Stadium Run will go to a good cause: the sports projects of Club Brugge Foundation, which each year enable more than 200 people from underprivileged groups to play sports in an adapted way at Club Brugge.
With the project ‘Ajax Foodball’, the club helps vulnerable (Amsterdam) youth to develop a healthy lifestyle. Amongst Amsterdam youth, an unhealthy lifestyle and lack of exercise is a big problem, which leads to health problems later in life. With the Ajax Foodball, the club makes young people aware of the importance of a healthy lifestyle. During the project, young people are given the unique opportunity to take a look behind the scenes at Ajax’s training complex De Toekomst. They will spend a morning in the kitchen and in Ajax’s youth academy. In this way, the participants take the first steps towards a healthy lifestyle. Moreover, Ajax hopes to inspire the youngsters to develop their own talents with the help of the catering team, nutritionists, trainers and players. The Ajax Foundation believes and invests in a society in which all children have equal opportunities and the prospect of a future in which they can develop their talents. In this context, Ajax organises various projects and events for vulnerable children and young people under the age of 19 in (greater) Amsterdam. In this way, the club hopes to strengthen the resilience of children and young people by increasing their self-awareness.
IDEAS FOR #MORETHANFOOTBALL ACTIVITIES:
- Celebrate staff involved in your health and well-being programmes
- Launch campaign for physical activity
- Hosting webinars/online meetings to share resources
- Sending health and well-being resources to community organisations
- Highlight projects that further health and well-being in your community
- Wherever possible, create social media content (photos/videos) with beneficiaries of your health and well-being initiatives
Please use #morethanfootball and feel free to tag our #Morethanfootball social media accounts so we can share your posts and activities.