Belgian Pro League partners with Foundation against Cancer

Belgian Pro League partners with Foundation against Cancer

Following the announcement that a No Smoking policy will operate at all domestic fixtures from the start of the 2021/22 season, the Belgian Pro League have now partnered with the Foundation against Cancer to help enforce the No Smoking policy across all Belgian football stadia.

From the start of the 2021/22 season, any form of smoking, including cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarettes, other devices that heat tobacco and the use of other types of tobacco products are prohibited during Belgian Pro League, the 1B Pro League and the Croky Cup competitions, side events and all other side activities.

The Belgian Pro League have implemented this measure in an effort to protect stadium users from the known health harms of second-hand smoke. Eliminating second-hand smoke will help to ensure the health and safety of all stadium users including players, staff, volunteers and thousands of fans who attend matches each week across the country.

To support clubs during the transition to No Smoking stadiums, the Belgian Pro League has partnered with the Foundation against Cancer, who will provide support to strengthen the implementation of the policy across all Belgian football stadia. The Foundation against Cancer is a prominent force in the field of tobacco control and offers counselling and smoking cessation services through its free Tobacco Stop service, available to all Belgian residents.

The introduction of the No Smoking policy aligns with Belgium’s national Generation Smokefree campaign and seeks to encourage other sports organisations, as well as other organisations across a multitude of sectors, to consider introducing their own policies. Generation Smokefree wants to protect every child, born from 2019 onwards, against tobacco smoke across the life course to ensure that being smokefree becomes the norm.

Healthy Stadia welcomes the partnership between the Belgian Pro League and Foundation against Cancer as a best practice case study of how professional sport and public health organisations can develop partnerships that can improve the matchday experience for all stadium users, particularly fans, whilst also contributing positively to public health outcomes.

Dr. Veronique Le Ray of the Foundation against Cancer said:

“The Foundation against Cancer is delighted with this wonderful collaboration. Smoke-free stadiums are a step closer to a smoke-free society, where everyone has an active role. After all, smoking is still responsible for 19% of all cancers.”

Emphasising the importance of Smoke-Free Stadiums, Pierre François, CEO of the Pro League, said:

“The Pro League resolutely opts for Smoke-Free Stadiums and, as the largest event organizer in the country, wants to contribute to a healthy, smoke-free society. We are delighted with the partnership with the Foundation against Cancer and want to work together towards a Smoke-Free Generation”.

Matthew Philpott, Executive Director of Healthy Stadia commented:

“We are delighted to see the Belgian Pro League not only announce a pioneering No Smoking policy that will protect current and future generations of football fans from the known harms of second-hand smoke, but also a partnership with a prominent public health organisation with a proven track record of developing and implementing successful policies that promote and protect health and wellbeing.

“We look forward to hearing more about the successes and challenges of implementing the policy in Belgium, so that the European football family can continue to learn and be inspired by our shared vision of Tobacco Free Football and a Smokefree Generation.”

To learn more about how to implement a No Smoking policy in your stadia, click the link below:

Michael Viggars

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