Conference Presentations

Conference Presentation Hub


Ivan Gazidis, CEO of Arsenal F.C., welcomed delegates to the European Healthy Stadia Conference and discussed the history of Arsenal in the Community and its impact in the local community in terms of health and wellbeing.

Dr. Matthew Philpott, Executive Director of the European Healthy Stadia Network, explored what we mean by ‘Healthy Stadia’, in addition to detailing the conference programme and highlighting academic research published in a 20th Anniversary Special Edition of Sport in Society.

Ivan Gazidis

CEO of Arsenal F.C.

Matthew Philpott

Executive Director of Healthy Stadia
Football, Health & Wellbeing

Plenary Session 1

Professional football clubs, league operators and governing bodies are ideally positioned to tap into the loyalty exhibited by millions of fans across Europe to develop innovative programmes to tackle a broad range of issues from physical inactivity and sedentary behaviour to food, nutrition and alcohol consumption.

The first plenary session explored the role football can play to promote and encourage individuals to make small but significant changes to their lives and contribute toward improving population level health and wellbeing.

Marc Schmidgall & Eva Coens

ECA & Club Brugge

Sally Wyke & André Seabra

University of Glasgow & Portuguese Football Federation

Peter Krustrup

South Denmark University
Special Presentation - Reassessing Wellbeing Indicators for Community Sports Interventions

Wellbeing is something that is persistently hard to define, but economic, social, environmental, democratic and personal factors are all known to influence how a person feels and their quality of life.

Nancy Hey, Director of the What Works Centre for Wellbeing, explored how wellbeing indicators can be used in community sports interventions, to complement harder outcome measures.

Nancy Hey

Centre Director at What Works for Wellbeing
How Sport and Sports Venues Can Address Mental Health & Inclusivity Issues

Plenary Session 2

Over the past 30 years, settings-based health promotion has become a prominent feature in efforts to tackle the burden of non-communicable diseases. It is based on the notion that investment in social environments is more effective than placing emphasis on the individual to modify their behaviour. Settings usually refer to the fundamental facilities and systems of an organisation and can be thought of as having physical boundaries, but they also encompass a number of intangible components including sociocultural factors and organisation structure and policy.

Organisations such as the Centre for Access to Football in Europe (CAFÉ) have taken a settings-based approach to address accessibility issues in sports stadia to provide a more inclusive matchday experience for disabled supporters across Europe.

There are now several examples of sports organisations that have taken learning from both of these agendas to develop their facilities to accommodate for those suffering from dementia and / or mental health issues. The second plenary discussed the challenges organisations may face in addressing inclusivity issues.

Jamie Hooper

Swim England

Michael Salla & Andy Smith

Everton in the Community and Edge Hill University
Active Travel & Active Spectatorship

Breakout Session 1A

Professional sports clubs and their stadia have a lot to gain from promoting walking and cycling routes to and from stadia and installing suitable assets such as cycle locking facilities. The benefits include improving the health of their fan base and encouraging their workforce to be more active. There are also significant advantages in terms of reducing noise pollution, congestion and improving air quality in and around the stadium.

Encouraging spectators to be physically active now extends beyond simply travelling to and from stadia to how we can make supporters active during professional sports. Preliminary research has identified golf as one such spectator sport that has an intrinsic ‘active’ component, as fans follow their favourite golfers around the course, and may constitute a ‘teachable moment’, increasing physical activity beyond tournaments themselves.

Organisations such as the Centre for Access to Football in Europe (CAFÉ) have taken a settings-based approach to address accessibility issues in sports stadia to provide a more inclusive matchday experience for disabled supporters across Europe.

There are now several examples of sports organisations that have taken learning from both of these agendas to develop their facilities to accommodate for those suffering from dementia and / or mental health issues. The second plenary discussed the challenges organisations may face in addressing inclusivity issues.

Wim Beelaert

KAA Gent Community Foundation

Daryll Archibald & Paul Dunstan

University of Edinburgh & European Tour
Tobacco Control Policies & Alcohol Sponsorship of Sport

Breakout Session 1B

Although the benefits of tobacco-free stadium policies are now well acknowledged, many clubs and stadium operators are disempowered by a lack of robust national legislation preventing smoking in enclosed and semi-enclosed spaces. However, even in countries with weaker tobacco control laws that do not apply to stadiums settings, stadium operators have the right to go beyond legislation by integrating strict smoke-free or tobacco-free policy into a stadium’s ground regulations.

Although tobacco sponsorship from high-profile professional sport has been eradicated, and thus the relationship between sport and tobacco is diminished, alcohol sponsorship is still pervasive. A systematic review published in 2016 reported a positive association between exposure to alcohol marketing and alcohol consumption.

Paula Gabriela Freitas


Katherine Brown and Richard Purves

Institute of Alcohol Studies & University of Stirling
Mental Health First Aid & Positive Mental Health in Men

Breakout Session 1C

In professional football, the stakes are high and the pressure to achieve can have a significant impact on young people who play the game at the highest level. Therefore, the mental health of young academy players is becoming increasingly important and is now being given the same attention as physical fitness.

Mental health is still an issue that some people – particularly men – are reluctant to talk openly about. Sport has been identified as a vehicle that can tackle stigma and sport settings can provide a safe and relaxed environment for individuals to share experiences of stress, anxiety and pressure.

Chris Rostron, Emma Goldsmith and Richard Munson

Rugby League Cares & Widnes Vikings

Paul Lake, Club Support Manager at the English Premier League provided a verbal presentation only.

Catering Options at Sports Venues and Childhood Obesity Interventions

Breakout Session 2A

Over the past 50 years there has been a number of fundamental changes to our culture that has seen us all become less active, consume more food high in fat, salt and sugar and spend more time staring at television screens, laptops and mobile phones – and these behaviours are directly contributing to rising levels of overweight and obesity.

The following two presentations explore how sports and sports organisations can positively and negatively impact our environment.

Pearse Connolly 

Football Association of Norway

Joe Piggin

Loughborough University
Physical Activity Interventions for Men

Breakout Session 2B

In most parts of the world, health outcomes among men continue to be substantially worse than among women, yet this gender-based disparity receives little acknowledgement or attention from health policy-makers or healthcare providers. Professional sports clubs are ideally positioned to tap into their loyal, often predominantly male, fan-base and encourage them to lead healthier, more physically active lives.

Connie Potter and Oliver Williams

Premiership Rugby

Hubert Rovers

Programme Design, Evaluation & Outcome Measurement

Breakout Session 2C

The universal popularity and unique power of sport to deliver messages to a broad audience make it an invaluable, if perhaps under-utilised, health-promotion tool. However, in recent years, confidence has grown in sports organisations to deliver interventions to a broad range of demographics, both on a matchday and in the community, in the face of local authority and public health funding cuts. As with any innovative programme, data is needed to justify continued funding, to evidence the successes and to highlight where improvement can be made.

Chet Trivedy & Sandy Mitchell

Boundaries for Life & Lancashire Cricket Foundation

Kathryn Curran

Leeds Beckett University
Promoting Health and Physical Activity at Grassroots Level

Plenary Session 3

Plenary session three explored how local authorities and NGOs, in cooperation with sports clubs and association, can work together in bridging the gap between grassroots sports and health, and how key agencies in traditionally separate sectors can cooperate to address the burgeoning obesity epidemic and so-called ‘physical inactivity time-bomb’.

The role of volunteers in sport was also examined and how they can be used to reach people at a local level, how they can encourage active citizenship, and how they can also be a powerful social tool to engage communities in many areas – including health.

Marisa Fernandez Esteban 

European Week of Sport

Colin Regan & Aoife Lane

Gaelic Athletic Association & Athlone Institute of Technology
Special Presentation - Towards an Active Nation: The New Sport England Strategy

More than one in four people in England do less than 30 minutes of physical activity a week, and the situation is similar across much of Europe. Advancements in business and improvements in technology have created a culture where we all move less often and spend more time sitting, and this is having a significant impact on our health and contributing to the rise in non-communicable diseases.

Sarah Ruane, National Strategic Lead for Health and Sport at Sport England discussed their new strategy and a raft of new funding opportunities targeting those who are typically less active such as women, disabled people and those from lower-socioeconomic backgrounds.

Sarah Ruane

Sport England
Delivering Positive Health Outcomes Through Mega Events

Plenary Session 4

Mega events are often thought of as large-scale cultural events which have an intrinsic commercial element, boosting the local economy, generating income for local businesses through leisure and tourism and creating additional jobs. Mega events also present fans from all over the world with the opportunity to experience a different culture and be part of something with international significance.

Whilst elite sports people will hit the headlines for breaking records and scoring crucial goals, there are often dozens of organisations working behind the scenes to improve the experience for fans through improving tournament policies and practices, reducing operational costs and waste, and providing a positive legacy for local communities.

Plenary session four discussed the UEFA approach to social responsibility and the core directives of their portfolio that include anti-discrimination and diversity, social integration and reconciliation, active and healthy lifestyles and promoting football for all. This session also examined how mega events can be designed with the health of fans and staff in mind through the implementation of No Tobacco policies and encouraging supporters to include an ‘active’ component in their journey.

Iris Hugo-Bouvier & Matthew Philpott

UEFA & Healthy Stadia

Lena Lagier Hassig & Marc Nipius

World Heart Federation & KNVB

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