Barça’s players took the train for the first time ever to play a game in Madrid, against Getafe CF, and make a point about reducing travel emissions, Bloomberg Green reported. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with football players can be attributed to various factors, and their travel and training is definitely among them.
The decision by FC Barcelona, the top team in Spain’s First Division, had “some of the world’s greatest football players” taking the train to play against Getafe CF on April 16, where the two teams tied 0-0. And the team is likely to take the train more often whenever facing Spain-based opponents.
“We decided to do this trip to state that the club wants to be a solution to climate change, and not a problem,” said the club’s Sustainability Director, Jordi Portabella.
We want to increase the number of trips we make by train instead of plane.Jordi Portabella, Sustainability Director of FC Barcelona
Air travel is a significant contributor to GHG emissions due to the combustion of jet fuel. The frequency and distance of travel can result in substantial carbon footprints for football players and teams. But unfortunately, it doesn’t end there. Football stadiums and training facilities consume energy and resources for their operation, including lighting, heating, cooling, and water usage. These activities can generate GHG emissions, depending on the energy sources used, the efficiency of the facilities, and the extent of sustainability measures in place.
“But over the past few months, dozens of symbolic initiatives have emerged, from clubs serving vegan food in stadiums to players biking to training grounds and wearing climate stripes, a popular data visualization of global warming, on their kits,” wrote Bloomberg.
Barça, as FC Barcelona is commonly known, has switched to LED lighting and begun sourcing electricity from renewable power over the last year. Now, “while the train was chartered — which alone isn’t as green as riding public transport — the club said their deal with Spain’s national railway company Renfe included a request that the trip be powered by renewable energy.”