How much environmental damage are top footballers causing?

By Peter Guest, FootballPredictions.NET, 21:53 21/11/2019

Updated at: 14:17 17/06/2022

How much environmental damage are top footballers causing?

The issue of climate change has never been bigger than it is right now, with people around the world seeing the effects of global warming first hand.

But how are footballers contributing to the problem?

Top players are held in very high esteem by their fans and idolised for their heroics on the pitch, but their jetting around means they’re among the worst offenders when it comes to polluting the Earth and accelerating climate change.

The international status of football means the world’s best players spend a lot of their time travelling all over the globe to appear in European and international fixtures, but while they do so they continue to rack up air miles and cause further damage to the planet — often without doing enough or anything to offset it.

Here at Football Predictions, we’ve calculated which of the world’s leading footballers are the worst offenders when it comes to carbon emissions. We’ve also spoken to leading voices on how to combat the issue of travel in football.

Eco Football Infographic

The emissions that come from just one plane journey can be damaging to the environment but, by doing dozens of trips during the course of one calendar year, footballers are shown to have a much greater impact on climate change by producing a carbon footprint well beyond that of the average person.

To date, very little has been done by leading organisations in football to combat the issue of climate change in football. Forest Green of the English Football League are leading the way, having been named as the greenest football club on the planet and achieving carbon-neutral status after working with the United Nations.

But that could be about to change, according to one expert in the field, with studies such as Eco-Friendly Footballers exposing the true damage footballers are causing to the planet.

Andrew Welfle, from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of Manchester, told FootballPredictions.NET: “I think the image of organisations such as the Premier League, the FIFA World Cup and individual clubs is an important issue to discuss.

“They all (probably) have massive carbon footprints and their actions to date have only scratched the surface on mitigating their impacts. If a light were to shine on these institutes I have no doubt they would do more, faster, to reduce their impacts. Nobody wants to be bottom of a league table, let alone for environmental impact!”

In summary, footballers may seem to have little choice other than to spin the wheel and guess how many tournaments they might be required to attend. There is seemingly no simple solution to the dilemma. 

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