Public Health England delays third-round FA Cup games

Move aims to get fans thinking about mental well-being.

All 32 FA Cup third-round games are to be delayed by one minute in an attempt to encourage fans to look after their mental health.

It is part of Public Health England’s "Every mind matters" campaign, which has partnered The Royal Foundation and The Football Association’s Heads Up initiative.

During the minute-long delay for the matches taking place between 4 and 6 January, a film narrated by the Duke of Cambridge and featuring stars including Frank Lampard, Alex Scott, Dele Alli and Harry Maguire will be shown in stadiums, on TV and on social media.

The spot, created by Freuds, shows black-and-white close-ups of famous faces in football, with Prince William beginning: "In life, as in football, we all go through many highs and lows."

Halfway through, the film turns into colour and James Bay’s Hold Back the River kicks in and the stars comfort each other. It promotes the Mind Plan platform with which people can log their feelings to receive an action plan.

The work is supported by advertorials in match programmes, LED boards at stadiums and video-on-demand.

The campaign wants to target men in particular, given that 69% of the 15 million football fans in England are male, while PHE and Heads Up research shows that men are less likely than women to seek help for early signs of common mental-health concerns.

Sheila Mitchell, marketing director at PHE, said: "Since 'Every mind matters' launched, over one million Mind Plans have been completed, empowering people to look after their own mental health. But there’s still a long way to go.

"The popularity of football is an incredibly powerful platform to engage audiences at scale and particularly to gain cut-through with men in a way that few other cultural phenomena can. That is why we’re delighted to be partnering with Heads Up to drive action on mental health."

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