“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does.” The words of Nelson Mandela.
Seeing the potential of this power, Sky television and Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) football club have teamed up to use the world’s most watched sport to inspire climate action. When Spurs host London rivals Chelsea on 19 September supporters will witness what is being branded the first ever ‘net zero carbon football game at an elite level’.
#GameZero demonstrates the steps that fans, the sporting world & broadcasters can take towards a zero-carbon future. Don’t miss the world’s first major net zero match on 19 September, the official account for #COP26 tweeted.
Tottenham, who were named the English Premier League’s greenest club on the back of a UN-backed Sport Positive Summit, say the game ‘will educate football fans on the role the sport they love can play in addressing climate change and demonstrate how they can take positive actions to reduce their own carbon footprint’.
“As the Premier League’s greenest club, Tottenham Hotspur is passionate about our planet – we look forward to showcasing our wide range of sustainable measures that are already in place and encouraging our fans to take simple actions that can make a huge difference,” said Daniel Levy, Tottenham Hotspur Chairman, on the Spurs website.
The game has the support of the UK government – the hosts of COP26.
“Climate change affects every aspect of our lives, including the sports that we love to watch and play. We can all take steps to help protect the planet for future generations, including in major sporting events,” said Alok Sharma, COP26 President-Designate on the Spurs website. “That is why I am delighted COP26 is working with Sky, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and the Premier League to show how football is going One Step Greener by hosting the world’s first major net zero football match.”
On the day of the game energy efficiency measures will be in place, the teams will travel to the stadium on buses powered by biofuel, fans will be urged to use public transport, or travel by bike, and plant-based food options will be pushed.
English football is a trailblazer when it comes to the environment, and the country’s Football League 2 club Forest Green Rovers would be winning titles regularly if the trophies went to the greenest team.
Labelled by FIFA as the ‘world’s greenest football club,’ in 2018 it won a Momentum for Change award, which is organised by the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat. The world’s first carbon neutral club is powered entirely by 100% clean energy, some of which is generated onsite via solar lanes on the stadium roof, among its list of eco credentials, which also include using electric land mowers and providing a vegan menu for players.
With elite teams following suit sport can now live up to its billing by Nelson Mandela and use its power to change the world.