MAN V FAT Football and Walsall FC Community Programme are working together to help local men lose weight.
The programme has been developed through a unique partnership - delivered by Man V Fat and Walsall FCCP, and funded by Walsall Council Public Health and Walsall Housing Group (WHG).
MAN V FAT, which is aimed at any overweight man who wants to shed the pounds while playing football, has a 95% success rate nationally.
More than 80 players take part in the league at University of Wolverhampton’s Walsall Campus, which is now four weeks in.
Over 80% of players have already lost weight, with some already losing more than 5% of their bodyweight.
Weigh-ins are held each week, before a game of six-a-side football.
The 14-week league, which will run through until September, is decided both on the results as well as weight loss statistics.
There is also 24/7 support to help men lose weight and get fitter.
Chris Springthorpe, Assistant Community Officer at Walsall FC Community Programme, said: “Man V Fat Football is a great way of bringing together men who want to lose weight in a fun and familiar environment – the football pitch.
“There is a real camaraderie among players, and they can push each other to try and achieve their weight goals.”
Andrew Shanahan the founder of MAN v FAT said, "We're absolutely delighted with the start the Walsall lads have made and the results which have been achieved so far are really inspiring.
“We love to see it when men are cheering each other on to get healthier and that's precisely what we've got at Walsall – it’s what MAN v FAT Football is all about."
The programme is being part-funded by whg, the first housing association in the country to fund a league.
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.
Councillor Ian Robertson, Portfolio Holder for Health and Wellbeing at Walsall Council, said: “This programme really helps men get active, have fun, and join in a competitive game both to win at football and be competitive in also losing weight.
“It is a great partnership that I hope will prove to be a life changing success pointing the participants into a future healthy lifestyle”.