Manchester United legend calls for sustainable sports stadiums

Gary Neville sets up foundation to promote the sustainable construction and maintenance of stadiums in England

Gary Neville, the former Manchester United and England football star, has set up a new foundation aimed at making the construction and maintenance of sports stadiums more sustainable and eco-friendly, it was announced on Monday.

In partnership with Dale Vince, founder of Ecotricity, a UK based energy company, Neville has set up the Sustainability in Sport foundation. The organization aims to bring the sport’s governing bodies, clubs and fans together to take on more responsibility towards reducing the environmental impact of sport.

“The environmental impact of sport is massive but often overlooked. With the Olympics putting sport at the forefront of people’s minds, we believe that the time is right to launch a green revolution in sport,” Nevill said.

“Sporting stars are role models for people throughout the world and delivering messages on sustainability through sport can reach a diverse global audience,” he added.

He explained that Sustainability in Sport aimed to set eco-standards for stadiums, sports pitches and other related facilities.

Furthermore, Neville said that the foundation would partner with companies to develop technology that would help football clubs produce their own renewable energy and improve their energy efficiency, so as to reduce costs and their carbon footprints.

Vince added that the foundation’s focus was to put environmental issues at the heart of all sport, with the Olympics providing a perfect example of the issues that needed to be addressed.

“The Olympic organisers have made great efforts to reduce their environmental impact and we applaud them for it. But there’s no getting away from the fact that the London Olympics still had a massive carbon footprint – the equivalent of adding an extra city the size of Cardiff to the UK,” he explained.

“The Olympics are a big event, but they only happen once every four years. We need sport to be sustainable day-in and day-out from the grassroots level upwards – we aim to help governing bodies, clubs and fans reduce the environmental impact of sport.”

As chairman of Conference National club, Forest Green Rovers FC, Vale said that he intended to use the club as a grassroots test-bed to show how clubs could audit their environment performance, and then retrofit technologies and introduce practices to provide eco-solutions – such as solar panels, wind turbines, electric robot lawn mowers, organic pitches, recycled water, low energy lights and so on.

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