Overweight football league NRW: “We don’t take normal weight people” – Panorama

The “Big Boys” from Buschhausen will compete, the “Heavy Kickers” from Bork or the “Ponderheads” from Menden: Six football teams have founded the 1st Overweight Football League NRW, the season started recently. Mike Kraus, 50, got the ball rolling. In 2019 he founded the “Heavy Kickers”, which has now been joined by 27 players.

SZ: Mr. Kraus, anyone with a BMI of 31 or more can take part in your team. So do you have to weigh your teammates regularly?

Mike Kraus: No, we just set a benchmark. We don’t take people of normal weight, but we’re not saying that you have to weigh 100 kilos to take part. If someone comes who weighs 95 kilos but is 1.55 meters tall, then they also have a weight problem.

Understand. And if someone picks up, will they be kicked out of the team?

If someone has volunteered with us and feels comfortable and then manages to lose 20 or 30 kilos, then they can stay on the team if they want to. We are a community!

But if that’s what’s fashionable in your team, Mr. Kraus, then it could be a bit unfair, for example for the great guys from Menden.

In the newly founded league there is a rule that two people of normal weight are allowed to stand on the pitch – if they come from the team and have lost weight there. It just mustn’t get out of balance that we then have five normal weight players on the pitch who run away from the others.

The obligatory case of beer after training is there for balance.

With us it’s not as extreme as in the district league. After training, there is rarely a beer, a mixed drink or even water, then we chat briefly, but we all go home straight away.

Mike Kraus, 50, Business Development Manager and amateur soccer player, would be happy if more clubs were founded that could join his league.

(Photo: private)

How did you actually come up with the idea of ​​founding such a team?

I used to quit football because of an injury. At some point I felt the desire to do sports again in a team, not to be alone. In a normal football team or even in a leisure team, I would probably have had few chances and little fun.

Losing weight wasn’t an option?

The Corona period with home office set me back quite a bit, that cost me another 15 kilos. We have some with us who used to play football and then haven’t for a long time. They are – as we like to say – sunk on the couch.

Is there actually a weight limit?

We make sure that it is healthy, so that nobody plays who is so overweight that their legs can hardly carry them, who could get condition or cardiovascular problems. The most important thing is that everyone participates as much as they can. If you run out of air, you first take a break in training and in the game you are substituted.

Sounds reasonable. But how can the whole thing be reconciled with the idea of ​​performance?

We are motivated, but make sure that there is no false ambition. We don’t want a district league atmosphere here, but that we keep it fun, that we take care of each other.

Will the “Heavy Kickers” bring their first championship title to Bork?

It won’t be easy. Regardless of the weight, there are teams that have really good footballers. But it is possible for us!

More episodes of the SZ series “A call to …” can be found here.

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