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France’s football teams will now travel by train for domestic games

France’s national football teams have adopted a new environmentally conscious policy. In line with a national ban on plane travel to destinations reachable within 3 hours by train, football teams will now travel by train too.

As the world warms up as a result of several decades of human inaction, people everywhere are finally being asked to change their behaviour – and yes, that includes professional footballers.

It’s been announced that national football teams in France will travel to away games by train whenever a match is held within a travel distance of 3 hours by train. This is thanks to a new green policy put in place by the French Football Federation (FFF) with the aim of reducing the sport’s contributions to climate change.

While the change has been promptly implemented for both the women’s team and the under-21s, the men’s senior team is still figuring out the logistics of their own transition. With global stars like Kylian Mbappé to take into consideration, organising the security of public transport is expected to be a challenge.

The FFF President Philippe Diallo expressed his commitment to an ecological transition across all sports and mentioned the possibility of the senior team travelling by train for matches in Lyon in March.

The French Football Federation’s decision aligns with the country’s broader environmental efforts, as France recently completely banned short-haul domestic flights for journeys that can be made in under two-and-a-half hours by rail.

Many will commend the FFF, especially in light of a new study conducted by BBC Sports.

The organisation anticipates that an increased number of football fixtures scheduled to take place in 2024-2025 could see as many as two billion more air miles flown during the campaign compared to previous seasons.

This distance equates to more than 4,000 journeys to the moon and back, resulting in the release of 500,000 additional tons of greenhouse gases. For comparison, fans and teams flew 1.5 billion miles to attend games during the 2022-2023 football campaign.

With an additional 177 fixtures scheduled to take place across UEFA’s three major tournaments, many are becoming concerned about what impact increased travel for game attendance (by teams, media personnel, and fans) as well as regular stadium operation will have on the planet.

When asked what can be done to minimise the environmental impact of this, UEFA’s former head of social responsibility Patrick Gasser said that tickets should not be sold to away fans for Champions, Europa, or Conference leagues.

That said, this could reasonably spark tremendous protests amongst football fans.

A drive towards sustainability in sports is clearly growing across Europe, as organizations like the Football Supporter’s Association and clubs in the English Football League have launched Sustainable Travel Charters, to encourage domestic travel by coach or train.

France’s move towards more sustainable transportation methods highlights a broader movement in the sports industry to reduce its carbon footprint.

It sets an example for teams and fans worldwide, emphasizing the importance of climate action as well as responsible travel choices.

Because if Mbappé can travel 3 hours to a game by train… so can you.