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Women’s World Cup players back climate campaign

July 20 2023 - News Release News Editorial

FIFA Women’s World Cup players have committed to taking steps to address the impact on the environment of flights to and from Australia and New Zealand for the tournament, which started today (July 20).

Women’s World Cup players back climate campaign

Some 44 footballers, led by Denmark international Sofie Junge Pederson and including the likes of Canadian midfielder Jessie Fleming and Italian defender Elena Linari, have joined the campaign. The initiative is being supported by Common Goal and Football For Future. 

“I want to ensure my World Cup experience has a positive environmental legacy,” said Pederson. “Climate change is the biggest issue humanity faces, and I want to be part of the solution. While there are no current sustainable solutions to aviation, as players we are setting an example, and taking a tangible step in the right direction.”

A key object of the campaign, which is the largest player-led climate action initiative in history according to Common Goal, is to inspire governing bodies to make carbon a key criterion in the bidding process for tournaments. 

Fleming said: “This is a topic I feel passionate about, and I hope this action my teammates and I are taking accelerates the climate conversation and sets a precedent for what athletes can do to push for more environmental policies in football.”

The campaign will focus on scientific methodology to calculate the environmental impact of players’ flights to and from the Women’s World Cup, using the US Government’s social cost of carbon ($51 per tonne) to calculate the size of each donation made to offset emissions. 

"Like all players, I’m focused on doing the best I can at the World Cup, but I also want to acknowledge that football has an impact on the planet, and most importantly, do something concrete about it.” Italian defender Elena Linari

The players will then donate the money to a combination of climate initiatives run by WFF, and DanChurchAid. These initiatives are based in Australia, New Zealand and Uganda.

Linari said: “The fact that this is a player-led initiative is inspiring. Like all players, I’m focused on doing the best I can at the World Cup, but I also want to acknowledge that football has an impact on the planet, and most importantly, do something concrete about it.”

Football For Future, a UK-based climate advocacy football non-profit, and Common Goal facilitated the campaign and supported the players.

Elliot Arthur-Worsop, Football For Future Founder, added: “Governing bodies need to acknowledge the impact that their tournaments have on the natural world and introduce carbon considerations as key criteria in the bidding process for hosting future tournaments.”

The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 will run until August 20.

Image: Andy Macfarlane on Unsplash

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