Green Football Weekend
Unleashing the power of football to tackle climate change
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a football (soccer for some) enthusiast. And this isn’t just casual speculation. Nearly half of the world’s population identify as football fans, making it the most popular sport globally.
And it’s easy to see why football is loved by so many people. Football is more than just an amazing sport. It’s about all of us taking the field as part of an incredibly powerful community. The sheer joy of the competition can - and has - brought the best in the millions globally who play and follow it. Football is living proof that we can accomplish a lot when we come together. What if we took the power of football and unleashed it to tackle climate change?
That is exactly what Count Us In set out to do, working in radical collaboration with Sky, BT Sport, 80 of the UK’s top football clubs, the Football Supporters’ Association and platform partners Planet League and Pledgeball, for Green Football Weekend.
Green Football Weekend - the world’s biggest football campaign on climate - was, you guessed it, a weekend of football fun and competitive activities to help protect our world and its natural wonders. Over the weekend, the footballing community showed up for our world like never before. This is how it played up.
In the 20 days leading up to the big weekend, clubs across the top divisions battled it out for the coveted Green Football Cup, in a tournament unlike others, where fan action decided the winner. The rules were simple: fans scored green goals for their club by taking climate-friendly actions - from eating a veggie meal to turning the thermostat down one degree or taking a shorter shower. The more goals fans scored, the higher their club’s chances of winning.
The competition, supported by the EFL, WSL and the FA, culminated in Green Football Weekend, when clubs joined fans in implementing changes by making their fixtures ‘greener games’, and showing their support for protecting our world. With the competition in full swing, the results of the first edition of Green Football Weekend were amazing!
More than 80 of the UK’s biggest football clubs engaged their fans in taking climate-friendly action to score green goals for their team to help them win the Green Football Cup. They ate more veggie meals, took shorter showers, turned their thermostats down, walked and cycled more, and told their clubs what they wanted them to do to go greener.
Football clubs across divisions implemented changes by making their fixtures ‘greener games’, for example subsidizing public transport for fans, offering discounted veggie and vegan food, using reusable bottles, announcing new commitments, running lessons in schools and even distributing wildflower seeds to fans. 40 teams sported green armbands to show their support for protecting our world.
Players spoke to the media about the power of football in tackling climate change, cooked up a veggie storm, got scoring green goals, and even assisted in the creation of the Green Football Cup!
Pundits challenged each other to score the most green goals, by layering up, getting around greener, and buying second hand.
Communities across the country - from schools, to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s football team - had their own Green Football Weekend themed activities to bring it all closer to home.
When the whistle blew on the Green Football Cup, fans had scored an incredible 80,000 green goals, saving 54,408kg CO2e. Fans also pledged to adopt new habits that would save another 8,756,907kg CO2e per year, the equivalent of planting 144,796 trees or taking 1,887 cars off the road.
Manchester United fans scored the most green goals, winning the 2023 Green Football Cup for their club, and showing that by taking small steps together, we can make a huge difference.
But beyond the prizes, Green Football Weekend showed us that fans care about tackling climate change. We showed up, we took action and we scored green goals for our world.
Green Football Weekend will become a yearly event, growing in size, ambition and impact. Imagine millions of us, in play for our world. What a difference we will make.