EuroFIT Pilot Clubs Announced

EuroFIT Pilot Clubs Announced

Following a penultimate plenary meeting in Edinburgh last month, the final version of the EuroFIT programme is now being piloted by football clubs in four European countries.

EuroFIT is a health and lifestyle programme that harnesses the power of a club’s badge to attract male football supporters to improve their physical activity levels, decrease the amount of time they spend sitting, and improve their diet so that they can lead healthier lives. The program is for men, aged 30-65 years, who are overweight (Body Mass Index (BMI) of ≥ 27).

Using a train-the-trainer model, academics from the EuroFIT consortium and former EuroFIT coaches have been training up a new wave of community coaches, ready to deliver the 12-week programme in new clubs across Europe. Key elements of the EuroFIT training programme include information on physical activity, sedentary behaviour, food and nutrition and group dynamics.

So far, six pilot clubs in four European countries have been recruited to test the final version of the EuroFIT programme – scroll down to learn more.

England – Blackburn Rovers and Leicester City

Former Premier League winners Blackburn Rovers and Leicester City will be trained in the EuroFIT methodology in January with a view to delivering the programme in February.

Researchers from University of Glasgow alongside former EuroFIT coaches from Newcastle United will deliver the training. Michael Viggars, Development Officer at Healthy Stadia will also be in attendance as Healthy Stadia will act as the International License Administrator following publication of the randomised control trial (RCT) next year.

Netherlands – SC Heerenveen

Judith Jelsma of the Amsterdam Public Health Institute, VU University Medical Centre and Harm Oppers who delivered EuroFIT for PSV trained coaches at SC Heerenveen in late October.

SC Heerenveen received expressions of interest from over 40 men within 2 days. The programme began on 9 November with a total of 20 men invited to participate with the possibility of an additional delivery of the programme in March dependent on funding.

Dutch members of the EuroFIT consortium are hopeful of recruiting one additional club to pilot test the final version of the programme.

Norway – SK Brann

Dr Eivind Anderson, a researcher in the Department of Coaching and Psychology at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences trained coaches at SK Brann to deliver EuroFIT. Four coaches were trained including club legends Erlend Hanstveit and Azar Karadas who will help to motivate participants throughout the 12-week programme. Read more about SK Brann’s programme here.

Norwegian academics are currently negotiating with additional clubs to pilot test the programme in the new year.

Portugal – Sporting Clube de Braga and Rio Ave F.C.

On November 14th and 15th, coaches from Braga and Rio Ave received training for EuroFIT. Both clubs will start recruitment and plan to begin the EuroFIT rogram in January 2018.

The training took place at the City of Football home of the Portuguese National Team, and was led by Marlene Silva and Hugo Pereira, EuroFIT researchers at FMH-U Lisbon, with the assistance of former EuroFIT coaches from SL Benfica and FC Porto. Some former University of Lisbon students also received the training in anticipation of future roll-out of the programme.

Michael Viggars

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