Paris Saint-Germain players hoped to start the Champions League against Juventus Turin on Tuesday, September 6, a little more calmly. But a laugh from striker Kylian Mbappé and the ironic response from coach Christophe Galtier caused a stir on the mode of travel of the players: the plane, the train or the bus. Let’s see how our neighbors do it:
In Spain, agreements between clubs and Renfe
The Andalusian club Betis Sevilla has signed an agreement with Renfe, the equivalent of the SNCF. The players however flew to Madrid on Saturday September 3, although there is a direct TGV from Seville. During a press conference dedicated to the economic situation, Betis president Ángel Haro addressed the subject: “The environment and sustainable development are part of our corporate social responsibility objectives, we are very committed to this. It is true that we have deviated from our roadmap a little because the Covid-19 almost forced us to fly. Today we still travel by plane despite the agreement with Renfe. Little by little, we will reduce our carbon footprint again in line with the objective we have set ourselves. «
The agreement signed with Renfe provides preferential rates on the train to get to these matches. It concerns all categories of the club, men and women, football and basketball, the A team and the lower categories. It does not require you to systematically take the train, especially when the recovery of players, and therefore physical performance, is at stake. Valencia signed a similar agreement in 2011. More recently, in June 2020, when the championship Spanish resumed after confinement, it was even La Liga, the Spanish championship, which signed an agreement with Renfe to offer these services to all first and second division teams.
In Italy, the preferred plane for long trips
For some Serie A teams, the Italian football championship, the plane is a priority. One of the capital’s two teams, Rome’s Lazio, entered into a partnership with Bulgarian airline TayaranJet two years ago. It was the first time that a Serie A team had its own plane with its name flanked on the device to fly around Italy and Europe. This partnership only lasted a year, not for reasons related to pollution but rather to the state of the plane, while several players had posted internet photos that were not really reassuring.
But not all Italian teams prefer flying. It is especially Lazio who have clearly taken it most often in the championship. She only took the train once to Naples, it’s not very far For long journeys from the north to the south of Italy, or in Sardinia, the plane is preferred to the train but it depends teams. AC Milan is, without a doubt, the club that traveled most often by train when the championship resumed after being interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. They only made one plane trip from Puglia to Lecce. Inter Milan also took the train to Rome, AS Roma took the train to Milan and Ferrara, while Naples traveled by plane to Verona, Genoa and Milan.
In England, unsystematic train journeys
Premier League footballers take the train, but not systematically. When the trip is short, that is to say less than three hours, footballers normally take the bus or train. Otherwise, they fly. In August, Liverpool players stood out by taking the train to London to face Fulham (at less than three o’clock). But the Premier League is far from being a model for its fight against global warming. There are also a lot of scandals in England, especially when players take the plane for short trips. Manchester United, for example, flew ten minutes to Leicester to avoid traffic, which caused a scandal in 2021. Bloomberg revealed a few days ago that private planes, increasingly popular with businesses since the pandemic, were lacking. Chelsea manager and former PSG manager Thomas Tuchel openly complained about it and even justified losing 3-0 to Leeds due to the lack of available planes.
Outside of the Premier League there is a lesser known English club which is one of the greenest in the world: Forest Green Rovers Football Club. This West of England club plays in the Third Division. It owes its reputation to its owner Dale Vince, CEO of Ecotricity, a green energy provider. In 2010, he came to the rescue of the club and radically changed it: vegan food for spectators and players, electric robot tractors that mowed an organic lawn, water recovery and jerseys made from recycled plastic. The football club is applauded for its carbon neutrality and attracts sponsors. And then, in the second division this time, the Reading club, west of London, unveiled its new jersey for its players this summer. A striped jersey from dark blue to crimson red showing the rise in temperatures every year since the club was founded in 1871.