FOOTBALL must do more to tackle climate change, according to a piece in the Guardian.
Well, of course it must. After all, as the article’s author, Barney Weston, informs us, sport’s carbon footprint is the same size as Tunisia’s. Whatever size Tunisia’s is, we are not told.
As you might gather, Barney, co-director of an outfit called Football for Future, waffles a bit. But he doesn’t really present any firm ideas, except to offer his inspiring vision of ‘our national game trailblazing an environmentally sustainable transition to global net zero’.
However, all is not lost, because another football eco-organisation, Climate Balls, is way ahead of the game. It has set out a radical masterplan which it is urging the FA to adopt, kicking the game towards the goal of Net Zero . . .
1. Balls to be inflated only with air sourced from the downdraft of North Sea wind turbines.
2. A mixture of natural yoghurt and whey powder to be used for marking out the pitch lines. A stiffening of fresh goat’s cheese may be added for the penalty spots.
3. To curb water vapour, a greenhouse gas produced by breathing, crowd singing will be limited to ten minutes. A further minute may be allowed during extra time.
4. Plastic goalposts to be replaced by birch saplings. Ground staff must ensure the trees grow to the regulation height and width before the start of the season, and fit cushioned neck attachment points for Just Stop Oil protesters.
5. Sunflowers to be planted in place of corner flags.
6. Referees’ whistles must imitate the mating calls of endangered bird species to encourage our feathered friends to use the nesting boxes on the stadium gantries.
7. Meadow grasses with a sprinkling of wild flowers will be used to create the pitch. Players must wear Genu-Deflector™ guards when taking the knee to avoid damaging the turf’s delicate miniature eco-systems.
8. Similarly, to protect the pitch, players
taking a dive collapsing in agony when lightly brushed by an opponent must not roll over ten times trying to convince the ref they really are hurt.
9. Players’ plastic groin guards will be replaced by half-coconut shells, shin pads by woven hazelnut twigs, and boots by artisan-carved clogs using wood from certified sustainable sources.
10. Any player sent off during a game must ensure the water in which he takes an early bath is from rain-gathered supplies and is unheated.
11. Instead of energy-devouring floodlights for night matches, players will wear head torches.
12. Half-time pies must be vegetarian only and served cold. Beefy Bovril will be banned.
13. Corporate clients in expensive private boxes will be requested to do their bit by ordering only Haute Valeur Environnementale fine wines sourced from certified Bordeaux sustainable vineyards.
14. Clubs will have to lease their pitches to farmers during the closed season to be ploughed up for quick-growing catch crops such as lettuce, coriander and rocket, and for free-range hens to roam.