A FOOTBALL fitness scheme is being launched to help men lose weight.

The FA-endorsed Man v Fat initiative is starting at the Riverside Leisure Complex in Chester-le-Street, on Wednesday and runs from 7pm-9pm every week for the next 14 weeks.

It costs £9.99 to register and players will pay £8 a month.

The scheme was set up by Andrew Shanahan who was fed-up with weight loss classes aimed just at women and he lost five stone.

It combines the beautiful game with easy to follow diet and lifestyle advice as well as 24/7 support.

There are the traditional weigh-ins before each game, but 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, so it becomes a real team effort.

Andrew Shanahan, managing director of www.manvfat.com, said: “We’ve seen that MAN v FAT Football can have an incredible impact on the health of our players with 95 per cent of players losing weight and 93 per cent reporting improvements from a range of conditions such as curing sleep apnoea to reversing diabetes.

“Our players have now lost more than 180,000 lbs and we want to keep increasing that with leagues like the one in Durham.”

To make it fun players choose team names such as 17 Stone Roses, Borussia Munching Flapjack and OB City.

Andy Dyke, from the Football Association said: “This is a brilliant initiative for anyone who wants to address their weight and start working their way back into football. The results are extremely impressive.”