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English football clubs pledge to be more eco-conscious with travel

October 12 2023 - News Release News Editorial

Six English Football League clubs have committed to travelling to matches in a more environmentally conscious manner.

English football clubs pledge to be more eco-conscious with travel

Following the launch of the Sustainable Travel Charter, Championship clubs Millwall and Bristol City, League One side Bristol Rovers and League Two teams Forest Green Rovers, Mansfield Town and Swindon Town have pledged to make more sustainable choices when it comes to travel. 

The Sustainable Travel Charter is the brainchild of environmental charity Pledgeball, with input from the Football Supporters’ Association and Millwall, which already had a no-fly policy. 

Amid the controversy of football teams utilising short-haul flights, the Sustainable Travel Charter has been introduced to support clubs in choosing more sustainable travel options. According to Pledgeball, Premier League clubs generate an average of 56.7 tonnes of CO2e per season due to travel, with most of this footprint attributed to flying to and from fixtures. 

In 2021, Manchester United flew just 100 miles to the now-relegated Leicester City, while Nottingham Forest took a 20-minute flight to Blackpool for an FA Cup tie earlier this year when a coach journey would have taken just under three hours. Outside the Premier League, Wrexham took 16 domestic flights in the 2022-23 National League, whereas no other team took a flight in the league. 

“Football clubs’ reliance on short-haul flights is a thorn in the side of their wider sustainability strategies." Katie Cross, chief executive of Pledgeball

“Football clubs’ reliance on short-haul flights is a thorn in the side of their wider sustainability strategies. This Charter seeks to address the elephant in the room and help clubs incorporate more sustainable travel practices into their operations and lead by example in showing fans and the public that climate action means walking the talk,” said Katie Cross, chief executive of Pledgeball.

Ashley Brown of the Football Supporters’ Association added: “We’d encourage all clubs to sign up to Pledgeball’s Sustainable Travel Charter, which could kickstart real change in football. Our country isn’t huge and, in most cases, clubs can reasonably make journeys by road or rail – short-haul flights should be a last resort.

“Football can also help by avoiding putting games on at times when public transport options aren’t available for the majority of fans. At a local level we’d also encourage clubs to look at ways they can join forces with public transport providers to offer deals to supporters.”

Image: James Kirkup on Unsplash

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