New Erasmus+ funded programme – Active Fans & Healthy Football League
From January 2018 onwards, EFDN will start a new Erasmus+ funded programme in collaboration with the Network members Fulham FC Foundation, Vitesse Betrokken, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Rangers FC Foundation, Ferencváros TC, NEC Nijmegen, Feyenoord Rotterdam, KAA Gent and Valerenga Fotball.
Active Fans/ Healthy Football League Europe
The programme, which will run until June 2020 is called Active Fans/Healthy Football League and aims at developing a new European standard and methodology that uses football as a tool to reach men and women from 35 years and older who would like to get physically active again, make lifestyle changes and improve their diets. The programme uses the clubs’ stadiums and training facilities as a motivational tool. Moreover, Active Fans harnesses men’s and women’s symbolic attachment to professional football clubs to engage them in lifestyle change.
Within the Active Fans programme, the participants receive the opportunity to learn about nutrition, get physically active and start to feel the benefits of weight loss and increased energy.
In recent years, a number of clubs and organisations in Europe have developed methodologies for a similar programme, promoting physical activity and healthy lifestyle for that particular target group.
However, until now, the clubs are primarily using different methodologies and working in an isolate manner leading to a low-level of sharing knowledge and experience. At this point, in many regions in the United Kingdom the Football Fans in Training (FFIT) methodology is being applied, Norway and the Netherlands test EuroFit and London the FansActiv approach.
Due to the lack of an overarching approach, the EFDN Active Fans Programme will develop an European methodology supported by football clubs from the Netherlands, UK, Hungary, Norway, Belgium and Germany. Additionally, the project will be supported by local, national and international organisations, FA’s and local governments.
Establishment of a European Healthy Football League
Within the framework of the development of the Active Fans methodology, a Healthy Football League will be established. The Healthy Football League will be an online competition that encourages the participants of the Active Fans programme to make healthy lifestyle choices and gives the possibility to compete online with fans from other clubs to become the healthiest club in Europe. All participants will act as a player in an online app and can score points for their club, long after they have finalised their 12 week programme.
The Healthy Football League Website and online App will make it easy to track exercise and it will be simple to use – the more they train, the more points they score to beat the fans of other clubs in the competition.
Active Fans is the overarching project in which the methodology will be tested in nine cities in six European Countries. Every city has its own local Healthy Football League activities and through the online Healthy Football app they will compete with the other clubs in the project.
The project also follows the goal of training the staff members of the participating clubs in this new methodological approach. Additionally, a Healthy Football League Practitioners Guide and ‘Train the Trainer’ course will be developed and made freely accessible for all organisations in Europe including local authorities, football clubs, sport clubs and sport governing bodies etc.
We are looking forward to bringing forward such a promising methodology in Europe in collaboration with our participating members and the European Erasmus + programme.