There’s no doubt that football’s popularity has grown exponentially over the years. In 2018, FIFA reported 3.5 billion viewers for the Men’s World Cup, and the that Women’s World Cup audience doubled in 2019. By 2022, an estimated 5 billion viewers watched the Men’s World Cup.
Thus, international tournaments are attracting more viewers, and this is reflected in the addition of more teams and more games. However, as the game grows, so too does its impact on the climate and environment.
Our latest addition to the WPG Team, Diane Caldwell, is using her platform to encourage FIFA to re-evaluate if its ethos is planet or profit.
The defender for Reading FC ad the Republic of Ireland sat down with BBC Sport and shared her opinion on how football’s governing bodies set the tone for the behavior of sports worldwide, and for billions of people.
“Football is the most followed sport in the world and has the unique position to be the leader of change. If football cares about the climate crisis, and its carbon footprint, and actually demonstrates cutting emissions, can you imagine the impact that it could have on billions of fans across the world?”
Since most of Football’s carbon footprint comes from fan travel, the plans to grow the Women’s game have come into question since they could contradict Fifa’s commitments to sustainability and emissions reductions.
However, Diane thinks the girls came can continue to grow, and be flag bearers for sustainability
“We’re (female footballers) pioneers in many aspects – LGBTQ+ rights, equality, equal pay, and I think we can take on the role of sustainability as well. Why not, add another one to the list?”
Although Diane agrees that there is a lot of responsibility at the top, players and fans also have a role to play in promoting this green transition.
“What we can do as players is use our platforms and fanbases to engage the grassroots communities in our respective countries. We can raise that awareness and engagement of these issues because they need to be talked about and need to be addressed”.