European Healthy Stadia Network: 2017

European Healthy Stadia Network: 2017

A record number of National Associations participated in World Heart Day, we got tech-savvy with the #ActiveMatchApp at UEFA WEURO 2017 and evidence-based practices reached fever pitch at the 4th European Healthy Stadia Conference. 2017 was a big year for the European Healthy Stadia Network (EHSN).

It is now over ten years since the birth of the Healthy Stadia movement, evolving from the EU-funded ‘Sports Stadia and Community Health’ project into a fully-fledged social enterprise. Healthy Stadia now supports national governing bodies of sport, league operators, clubs and their stadia to develop health-promoting practices and policies all over Europe. Take a look below at what we got up to this year.


We kicked off 2017 with a Healthy Stadia Assessment at Friends Arena, Stockholm ahead of the UEFA Europa League Final in May. This was the first time Healthy Stadia had revisited a venue and provided us with an opportunity to assess progress on our recommendations since the initial meeting four years ago.

One of EHSN’s core business functions is to collect and share examples of good practice. In late January, we published a case study detailing Active Travel provision at the Amex – home of Premier League new boys Brighton & Hove Albion.

In conjunction with Food Active, Healthy Stadia piloted a PSHE toolkit to help children and young people Give Up Loving Pop (GULP!). The resource, which contains PowerPoint Presentations, games and activities, is designed to raise awareness of high sugar drinks and teach children and young people how to read food labels.


In early February we launched the new Healthy Stadia website ahead of our fourth international conference in April – we also refreshed our brand with the new EHSN logo.

February also saw the launch of the Healthy Stadia special edition in Sport and Society. This collection of academic work covers a huge range of topics in the field of Healthy Stadia from catering options at sports stadia to tackling mental health issues in professional sports clubs.


Two further Healthy Stadia assessments were conducted in March ahead of the UEFA Champions League Final at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff and UEFA Super Cup in Skopje, Macedonia. Both stadiums would go on to enforce a No Smoking policy during their respective finals.

Staff from Healthy Stadia and our nutrition partner Food Active delivered training to Everton in the Community (EitC) coaches to deliver high sugar drink education sessions to junior school children in Merseyside.


The 2017 edition of the European Healthy Stadia Conference was held on Thursday 27th April at the Emirates Stadium – home of Arsenal F.C.

This was the fourth international conference held by Healthy Stadia after previous editions in Geneva, Manchester and Liverpool, and celebrated 10 years of the EHSN movement. Over 200 delegates and 40 speakers from the cross-cutting fields of sport, health and community development participated on the day.

The growing interaction between academic researchers and practitioners in the field of Healthy Stadia was explored, with many presentations underlining the benefits of partnerships established between research institutions, clubs, sports stadia and governing bodies.


In May, Healthy Stadia attended plenary meetings for its two current EU projects: EuroFIT (Amsterdam) and Active Voice (Copenhagen).

Following the EuroFIT meeting in Amsterdam, two Healthy Stadia assessments were conducted at the semi-final and final venues for UEFA Women’s EURO 2017 in Breda and Enschede respectively. Information on existing active travel provision was collected and a set of recommendations was developed for each stadium on how best to implement a No Smoking policy.

Healthy Stadia staff also helped to deliver the first set of opportunistic health checks at Headingley cricket ground as part of the Boundaries for Life initiative.


We were fortunate enough to attend UEFA’s annual Football and Social Responsibility Partners Workshop on 21 and 22 June at their headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland. During the workshop, UEFA discussed how their approach to social responsibility and sustainability has evolved over the past few years and how they are adapting their methods to tackle contemporary issues.

Healthy Stadia also trained coaches at EitC to deliver our bespoke lifestyle behaviour change programme – Healthy Goals – to young people enrolled on their social inclusion programmes, including National Citizenship Service.


Healthy Stadia was commissioned by partners at World Heart Federation and UEFA to develop an active travel programme at UEFA Women’s EURO 2017. Healthy Stadia selected Gospelware to develop a mobile application incentivising walking and cycling to host stadia during the tournament.

Throughout the tournament, Healthy Stadia worked closely with UEFA to promote the free-to-use #ActiveMatchApp to all staff and supporters at UEFA Women’s EURO 2017. Information on how to download the App was included in ticketing communications, available via social media and through news articles on the UEFA and partner websites. The #ActiveMatchApp was downloaded 1788 times on Android and iOS, with users covering a combined 2.122km; burning 80370 calories; and saving over a quarter of a tonne (255kg) of COemissions.

Our competition winners received a VIP package to watch Netherlands beat Denmark in the final. Dutch legend Pierre van Hooijdonk also met with our VIP winners prior to the match.


At the end of August Healthy Stadia staff delivered a multi-risk brief intervention workshop for coaches at the Homeless World Cup, hosted in Oslo, Norway. The first part of the workshop, explored the health and wellbeing of homeless populations with the second part focusing on helping managers and coaches develop brief intervention techniques. These new skills will enable coaches to approach homeless community members in a sensitive and considered manner and encourage positive change.


Staff from Healthy Stadia and the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Health and Wellbeing discussed the EuroFIT programme at SoccerEx, a global football industry conference held in Manchester between 4th and 6th September. Participants from Everton’s and Manchester City’s programmes also took part in a small demonstration during the exhibition and spoke to delegates on the day about their own journeys.

With the help of UEFA FSR and World Heart Federation, Healthy Stadia leveraged support from just under half (26) of UEFA’s National Associations for World Heart Day 2017. Many National Associations used their websites and social media channels to promote heart healthy messages with several using players, ambassadors and matchday activities to encourage their fans to get active, quit smoking or change their dietary habits. Learn more about WHD2017 here.


A second EU Project meeting for Active Voice took place in Birmingham, UK with Healthy Stadia staff and European partners attending a measuring social impact workshop. Good social impact measurement can help organisations to improve their services, compare achievements with similar organisations and communicate the difference they are making in an effort to attract further investment. Healthy Stadia also attended the MOVE Congress, coordinated by ISCA, shortly after which explored the latest physical activity trends.


The penultimate plenary meeting for our EU funded EuroFIT programme took place in Edinburgh, UK. Partners had the opportunity to look at some very encouraging clinical results from the randomised control trial (RCT) that was conducted between 2014 and 2015.

Members of the EuroFIT consortium have also been working hard to recruit clubs to pilot the final version of the 12-week physical activity programme. In the new year, coaches from former Premier League winners Leicester City and Blackburn Rovers will be trained to deliver the EuroFIT methodology. SC Heerenveen in the Netherlands, SC Braga and Rio Ave in Portugal and SK Brann in Norway have already received training with several programmes now underway.

Our Director of Research (Honorary) Robin Ireland, was accepted on to a PhD programme at the Institute of Health & Wellbeing, Social and Political Sciences, at the University of Glasgow, researching the Commercial Determinants of Health in Sport. Robin hopes to investigate the relationship between large corporations, professional sport and supporters.


Preparations for UEFA EURO 2020 got underway this month with Healthy Stadia staff taking part in site visits to Dublin (Aviva Stadium) and Bilbao (San Mamés). The information gathered will be used to inform No Smoking signage placement during the tournament, which will be held across Europe, in three years’ time.

Finally, we are proud to report that after a competitive tender process, UEFA’s Fair Play and Social Responsibility Committee awarded Healthy Stadia a new partnership agreement which will last for four years. The partnership will allow Healthy Stadia to continue to advocate for Tobacco Free stadia; promote walking and cycling to stadia; and work with stadia operations teams to improve their catering offers. Healthy Stadia will also continue to lend UEFA health consultancy support for their club competition finals and major tournaments.

Michael Viggars

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