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A free football league that will help men who are overweight or obese in tackling their weight issues will launch in Walsall, thanks to support from leading Midlands landlord whg.

The MAN v FAT Football Scheme is a Football Association endorsed 14-week football league, which is exclusively for men living or working in Walsall and with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 25.

The league first started in January 2016 as a scheme with Solihull Council and was a huge success. In that scheme, 95% of its players lost weight by taking part.

It will now launch at the University of Wolverhampton’s Walsall campus next week.

Each weekly session, which is free to attend, will combine football with easy to follow diet and lifestyle advice as well as 24/7 online and offline support.

Traditional weigh-ins are held before each game and this is then followed-up by a 30 minute game of six-a-side football. Extra goal bonuses are awarded depending on the pounds lost by the players, turning it into a real team effort for everyone involved.

The new programme is being part funded by whg and this is the first time that MAN v FAT Football has partnered with a housing association. Martin Berry, a Community Health Officer for whg who has already successfully delivered whg’s popular walking football sessions, will also assist in delivering the programme.

Other partners for the programme are Walsall FC and Public Health Walsall.

MAN v FAT Football will complement whg’s successful portfolio of healthy lifestyle projects, which includes Waist Away, family fitness and fun sessions and programmes for the over 50s.

Lesley Dews, whg’s Health and Housing Partnerships Manager, said: “It’s great to add MAN v FAT Football to our portfolio of healthy lifestyle programmes and to support weight loss specifically for men in Walsall.

“As well as improving all round health, it’s a great opportunity for men to get back into the beautiful game, make new friends and enjoy losing weight.  We look forward to working in partnership with MAN v FAT and Public Health Walsall and to a successful outcome.”

MAN v FAT was launched by Andrew Shanahan, who lost five-stone by participating in the league.

Andrew Shanahan, Managing Director of MAN v FAT Football, said: “We've seen that MAN v FAT Football can have an incredible impact on the health of our players, with 95% of players losing weight and 93% reporting health improvements from curing sleep apnoea to huge improvements in blood pressure and joint pain.

“Across 2016 our players lost more than seven tonnes in weight and we know that we are going to smash that in 2017 with leagues like the one in Walsall.”

MAN v FAT Football launches at The University of Wolverhampton’s Walsall Campus on Tuesday, 6th June at 8pm. Sessions will then run every Tuesday from 8pm to 10pm for the following 14 weeks.

Players can join up at www.manvfatfootball.com/walsall and can get more information by calling 0845 163 0042 or emailing football@manvfat.com