ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association) and Best Cities Alliance honour the Faroese conference “Football is Medicine” with this year’s “Incredible Impact Award” during the Global Association Community Forum in Lausanne on 6th September.

The winner of the prestigious award is the University of the Faroe Islands, Football is Medicine!

The Incredible Impact Jury reasons:

“The Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic – where 10% of the population is a registered footballer – and the perfect place to host an event showcasing the many benefits of playing soccer. Experts from all aspects of sports medicine, nutrition, and training delivered a compelling programme detailing how football can be used to enhance and enrich the lives of people everywhere. This is the world game as societal gamechanger; shaping physical and mental responses to recovery, ill-health, and well-being by using football as a way for us all to live happier and healthier lives.”

With the award, the organizers of “Football is Medicine” receive a grant of 7500 USD, which will be invested into further research. Magni Mohr, PhD, Dean, Professor in Exercise Physiology, Faculty of Health Sciences in the Faroe Islands, is very proud of the award. Magni says:

“The 2020 conference in the Faroe Islands resulted in a cooperation agreement with WHO (World Health Organization) and with this cooperation the concept and impact will spread even more in the world. WHO is now using our research and models to reach their global targets for physical activity towards 2030, that is fantastic. That we now win an award for the conference is a massive recognition, and we are all extremely thankful.”

Magni Mohr, together with May-Britt Skoradal, assistant professor in Health Sciences, was the head of the FIM2020 conference. The event was already  selected as ‘Achievement of the Year’ by Visit Faroe Islands.

May-Britt Skoradal is convinced that the Faroe Islands are a good destination for international events, also in January:

“We chose to have our event in January 2020, luckily for us, since COVID-19 hit only a month later. In January, less events happen here, compared with springtime and summer. People were intrigued by the weather and the wind. The conference worked out very well, and now several FIM research projects for kids, elderly, and patients are executed in the Faroe Islands.”

Both Magni and May-Britt agree that the award is well justified because of the event’s international and local impact.

Visit Faroe Islands is proud, that a conference in the Faroe Islands has won such a prestigious award.

“It is our goal, that the conferences held in the Faroe Islands make a footprint first at home, and secondly on the international community. For us, conferences are a force for the good, as this was what happened with the Football is Medicine. We are proud to receive such a recognition for a smaller scale conference, hosted in such a small community, and yet it managed to change the world within its area of excellence.” Says Annleyg Lamhauge of Visit Faroe Islands Meetings.

The Football is Medicine (FIM) concept builds on 20 years of scientific research, resulting in the publication of 300 plus high impact scientific articles and numerous books. The research has been translated into several evidence-based sport concepts for children, adults across the lifespan, and a high number of medical patient groups.

The 3rd FIM-event in the Faroe Islands with around 250 participants from five continents offered in addition to two conventional conference days three days of symposia, where courses on how to conduct the above-mentioned sports concepts were delivered to teachers, sports coaches, and health care workers. This fits well with the translational characteristics of the conference, which ensures large accessibility and democratization of the research and its application in society.

In the aftermath of the conference, numerous Football Fitness initiatives primarily targeting elderly citizens and women were implemented in the Faroe Islands—as a direct result of participation in the symposia part of the conference. Also, the sports concepts FIT FIRST 10 (6–9-year-olds) and 11 for Health (10-12-year-olds) have been implemented as a regular part of physical education in numerous schools.

Moreover, the conference has facilitated additional funding to FIM research projects in the Faroe Islands including PhD-projects primarily focusing on mental health, wellbeing, type 2 diabetes, bone health and hypertension.

Both the FIM-2020 conference and several of the FIM-projects have obtained great media coverage nationally and internationally, also by leading media channels. So, BBC has been on the Faroe Islands recently to shoot a documentary of one of the Faroese FIM-projects.

As a direct impact on tourism and conferences, FIM on the Faroe Islands has also facilitated Football Fitness tourism. The Faroese FIM teams are visiting other football for health teams outside the Faroe Islands, and teams from outside have also travelled to the Faroe Islands to play against Faroese teams.

The 4th FIM-conference, which will be co-hosted by WHO and the ministry of health in Qatar, will happen in Doha in October 2022 and is a direct consequence of the FIM-conference in the Faroe Islands in 2020. Also, the next conferences (Atlanta, USA 2023 and Firenze, Italy 2024) were planned during FIM-2020.

Football is a powerful tool on the global stage and therefore the FIM-network is using the sport as a lever to solve global health challenges, supported by solid scientific evidence and sustainable sports concepts derived from the research.

The FIM-2020 conference leaves a legacy in Faroese society on various levels and facilitated large scale international collaboration with for example the World Health Organization.

The winners of the 2022 Incredible Impact Award: https://www.incredibleimpacts.com/finalists-2022

For more information about FIM see: https://www.tmf-dialogue.net/on-the-faroe-islands-football-is-medicine.html


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More general information about the Faroe Islands can be found by visiting the Visit Faroe Islands Meetings website.