F-MARC’s first studies in African countries had proven that the programme:

  • significantly increases the health knowledge of children
  • is enjoyed by the children, they would recommend it to best friend
  • can be implemented in different ways according to the situation in a country

Therefore, the programme was promoted at the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ using eleven popular players as ambassadors. Further, it was decided to role out the “11 for Health” on the continent right after the event as the most important legacy to Africa: health.

For the implementation in individual countries, the following points are important:

  • While the programme is universally applicable, individual messages can be adapted to the situation in a specific country.
  • The partners for implementation may differ in different countries, and have to be determined to fit optimally with the local conditions: FIFA member associations, NGOs, Ministries of Health, Education, Youth, Sports etc. This is a continuous learning process.
  • All teachers and coaches should come from the respective community and are educated in a 5-day training programme prior to implementing the programme.
  • A comprehensive ‘11 for Health’ guidance manual provides further details for reference.

Health message

Football skill

Risk factors influenced

Play football (physical exercise)

Playing football

High blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index, physical inactivity

Respect girls and women


Unsafe sex

Protect yourself from HIV


Unsafe sex

Avoid drugs and alcohol


Use of alcohol, tobacco

Use treated bed nets



Wash your hands


Poor sanitation and hygiene

Drink clean water


Contaminated water supply

Eat a balanced diet

Building fitness

Under and overweight, inadequate fruit and vegetable intake

Vaccinate yourself and your family


Inadequate health protection

Take your prescribed medication


Inadequate health protection

Fair play


Family and social support


New article by Fuller CW, et al, British Journal of Sports Medicine 2011.