Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper defends a flight to Blackpool for the FA Cup match

Blackpool scores against Nottingham Forest
Nottingham Forest, who earned promotion to the Premier League last season, were well beaten by Championship side Blackpool

Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper has defended his club after they were criticized for flying in and out of Blackpool for Saturday’s FA Cup tie.

The club took a 20-minute flight to Lancashire, a journey of around 135 miles, to avoid a road journey of around two hours and 45 minutes.

The forest was kicked out of the FA Cuplosing the game against the struggling Championship 4-1.

“I think it’s pretty normal,” Cooper said Monday.

“Whether it’s right or wrong, I think it’s quite normal for a team, especially in the Premier League, and for many teams in the Championship, to fly such distances.

“It’s probably not just a question for Nottingham Forest. It’s probably a question for the whole Premier League.

“We don’t single out here. In fact, because of where we are in the country, we probably fly less than most.”

In November 2021, Manchester United was criticized for flying to Leicester for a Premier League match, a journey of around 100 miles.

Forest recently extended the contract with the energy company E.on external linkto “raise awareness of the climate crisis” and “strive to play our part in a greener and more sustainable energy future”.

They also agreed on a charity contract to sponsor T-shirts with UNHCRexternal linkUN Refugee Agency, last month. UNHCR websiteexternal link describes in detail how climate change could negatively affect the lives of refugees and displaced persons.

The Fly Green Alliance, which specializes in sustainable mobility and sports, says there is “never a need for a domestic plane in a small country”.

“Globally, we are under huge pressure to reduce carbon, especially from travel,” they said in a statement.

“Because Premier League athletes and clubs have such a high profile, they can play a very important role in climate issues.

“We don’t think there’s ever a need to fly domestically in a small country.”

Flights produce greenhouse gases – mainly carbon dioxide (CO2) – by burning fuel. They contribute to global warming.

It is known that emissions per kilometer traveled are significantly worse than any other form of transport, with short-haul flights being the biggest emitters. according to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The campaign for better transport has previously called for The British government will ban domestic flightsexternal link if the journey could be made by train in less than five hours.

In a statement, Nottingham Forest Supporters Trust said: “Sustainability is a topic we have raised with the club in the past through question and answer sessions.

“The club has recently shared details of an energy audit of its facilities and we are keen to continue the dialogue on how other aspects of the club can become more sustainable – including travel arrangements.”

Nottingham Forest and the Premier League have been contacted for comment.


Dave Lockwood, BBC Sport’s head of editorial sustainability

Football teams flying for home games are not only a real problem for football’s attempts to reduce its emissions, but also undermine the ability of sports, teams and players to lead change and advocate for environmental action.

Footballers and clubs are some of the biggest influences on the planet, what they say and do matters and can shape opinion.

Nottingham Forest are discussing organizing a “Green Game” for the Green Football Weekend, based on fan action. They will ask fans to make sacrifices and reduce their shows. A flight to the FA Cup, at best, undermines positive messages.

But Forest are not alone and it’s important to stress – most Premier League clubs take the same approach to travel.

“Football factors” are often cited as the reason. Should competitive advantage in the game of football be used as an excuse to harm the environment? This may not be an issue for the clubs, but for the authorities – if they are serious about reducing emissions from games, they need to start tackling this problem.

It seems a long way off, more than 12 months after the UN Race to Zero was signed in November 2021. The Premier League is yet to announce a sustainability strategy that can be expected to address these domestic flights and the lack of transparency or accountability surrounding them.

For now, clubs are free to promote a green agenda and fight for environmental sustainability, while continuing to make significant environmentally damaging decisions that take place behind the scenes with little or no oversight.

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