Arsenal should cancel global pre-season tours if they wish to tackle climate change

Arsenal have announced they are joining with UN to tackle climate change.

What a load of bollocks.

I am not a climate change denier. It is real and we do need to do more. But Arsenal signing up to the Sports for Climate Action Framework is just virtue signalling.

Every season, every clubs takes its brand across the globe for pre-season friendlies.

Australia, America and Asia, clubs will spread across the globe, playing in multiple different countries. Some clubs will even fit in 2 pre-season tours to 2 different continents.

These pre-season tours involve multiple long and short haul flights to numerous different countries. All to make money.

If clubs wanted to tackle climate change, they would halt these pre-season tours immediately.

Prepare for the new season in Europe, which will mean a shorter flight and less carbon emissions. Or even better do not go abroad at all. Go Centre Parcs of or something.

There is not physical reason to have a pre season tour abroad. It is just financial.

A couple of years ago Arsenal played Chelsea in Ireland. This would have led to both teams flying across to Dublin, as well as many fans.

2 London clubs, jumping on planes to play a friendly in a different country.

Want to do something about climate change? Stop this nonsense.

Likewise clubs produce 3 kits a year, and multiple different training garments.

All of these involve a huge manufacturing process. And with the kits being made in China, Vietnam or some Asian industrial zone where cheap labour can be exploited, they need to be flown to the UK for sale.

Instead of developing multiple kits a year, why not return to 1 it every 2 years? Straight away that would reduce the carbon emissions produced from manufacturing the kits and exporting to them.

But of course, kits and pre-season tours are lucrative.

It is much easier for the club to sit there and lecture fans on how to behave and “be green” then actually take action themselves.

Remember a few years ago when the club flew from Luton to Norwich for a game?

Like many businesses across the country, Arsenal have transformed what they do in an attempt to help save the world:

  • Became the UK’s first football club to install large-scale battery energy storage in 2018. The battery storage system can power Emirates Stadium for an entire match, or the equivalent of 2,700 homes for two hours 
  • Since 1999, more than 29,000 trees have been planted at London Colney to create the Colney Wood
  • Have installed a water recycling system at our training centre to reuse water that comes from the pitch – recycling more than 4.5 million litres of water a year
  • Are the first Premier League club to switch to 100 per cent green electricity  
  • The first Premier League club to trial the reusable cup scheme during the 2018/19 season. This scheme became fully integrated at the start of the 2019/20 season, saving the use of approximately 20,000 single use plastic cups per game when Emirates Stadium is full
  • The  training centre is now 95 per cent single use plastic bottle-free
  • Have introduced more water dispensers across all sites – saving 150,000 single-use plastic water bottles per year 
  • Have reduced energy by installing automated LED lighting at all club sites

All of these actions should be commended.

But the carbon emissions from flying across the globe yearly for pre-season friendlies and manufacturing 3 it’s a year dwarfs the actions taken.

We recently saw a “European Super League” proposed once again. This would see clubs play more games abroad than in the current Champions League – which would lead to more flights for teams and players.

Likewise proposals to play domestic games abroad and not exactly environmentally friendly.

If Arsenal (or any other sports club) truly wanted to tackle climate change, they would look to reduce flights and reduce manufacturing.

But I am guessing they would not want to see their revenue drop as a result.

Profit is more important than tackling climate change.



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