The football league where the losers win

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A new fat-busting football team will help Blackpool men shed their extra pounds in the only league where the biggest losers win.

The Man V Fat football team, at Blackpool Sports Centre at Stanley Park, only accepts players with a BMI of 27.5 or more – either overweight or obese.

Coaches Bob Hudson and James Ridge

Coaches Bob Hudson and James Ridge

Laura Ivinson (inset) sports development manager at the council, said: “In Blackpool we have a high rate of obesity. It can cause heart problems, increasing blood pressure. Increased weight on joints can cause mobility problems.

“This is the starting point for a lot of men. We hope that, from this, they will attempt other forms of exercise.

“It’s not just about the goals they score on the pitch, it’s about the goals they hit losing weight.”

Some 63.5 per cent of adults in Blackpool are overweight or obese, compared to 61.3 per cent of England adults overall, according to Public Health figures.

And almost a third of adults in the resort admit to getting fewer than 30 minutes of good exercise a week, compared to a 22.2 per cent national average.

Laura said: “For some of these guys it could be years since they did any activity.

“Many people probably don’t want to walk into a gym because they think a gym is full of very fit people. It’s about getting them on the same level. It doesn’t just benefit them, but their families as well.”

Andrew Shanahan, managing director of MAN v FAT Football, said, "We’re delighted to work with Sport England and The FA to bring the leagues where losers win, to those who need it across England. We’ve seen how positive the leagues are as a way of supporting men who want to lose weight and get more active.

“What’s brilliant is that because of this funding we can bring these leagues without the normal fees for players, so the only thing you have to lose by joining the Blackpool League is weight.”

The Man V Fat football league will begin at Blackpool Sports Centre on September 17 from 7.30pm until 10pm, and will run every Monday night for 16 weeks.

Men who want to sign up for the programme can do so online at www.manvfat.com.