are there European clubs that take the train rather than the plane for their travels?

« We are trying to see if we can not move in a sand yacht » : the touch of humor does not pass. Monday, September 5, PSG coach Christophe Galtier chose irony to respond to SNCF’s proposal to adopt more ecological mobility for the movement of Parisian players.

Sunday September 4, the boss of the TGV Alain Krakovitch had pinned the PSG on the social networks after the players flew to play in Nantes, while the city is only two hours by train from the capital.

At a press conference, the coach mocked this arrest which had nevertheless been welcomed by the Minister of Sports Amélie Oudéa-Castéra. « I find this type of arrest very interesting and it also makes me think of the collaboration that exists between Real Betis and Renfe, which is the equivalent of the SNCF in Spain », she had argued, Sunday, September 4, on franceinfo.

However, the proof is: it is possible. Football clubs that prefer the train to the plane are rare, but they do exist. The Minister of Sports takes the example of Betis Sevilla. The Andalusian La Liga club, the Spanish first division, has indeed just renewed a partnership with the Spanish railway to make all its travels this season by train.

But other clubs have also already chosen to travel by train rather than by plane for distances similar to the movement of PSG. In early August, the very big European club Liverpool opted for the train to get to Fulham, 300 km away. A photo shows it. In a snapshot shared on social networks, we can see Jürgen Klopp’s players lined up on a station platform with their small suitcases.

So could PSG do the same as Liverpool? The club’s response was, in any case, far from being the same as that of its coach. Questioned, Monday, September 5, by franceinfo, the communication of the club made it known that the PSG was not at all opposed to traveling by train and ensured that the club discussed regularly with the SNCF to consider solutions. However, according to the club, the train remains « more complicated » to manage, in particular for questions of security and logistics.

If the club intends to avoid riots at the station, PSG is also absolutely keen that its players return the same day of the match, which would often imply that a train is available to circulate at night. Questioned, the SNCF ensures that it is « quite possible » and recalls that in 2019, it chartered more than 250 special trains.

This has not yet convinced French football. In 2019-2020, according to a study commissioned by the Professional Football League (LFP), nearly two-thirds of trips by Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 clubs were by plane, 31% by bus, and only 4% by train. However, the LFP ensures that « since June 2022, professional football clubs are now encouraged to carry out their own carbon footprint in order to develop a low-carbon strategy and a concerted action plan aimed at reducing their carbon impact ».

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