62,000 Grassroots Football matches a year cancelled because of climate change
It is estimated 42% more grassroots football matches games are called off because of adverse weather now than in 2016, as a result of climate change.
Research shows that more than 62,000 grassroots football matches are cancelled or postponed by climate change every year.
A survey conducted by The Climate Coalition of 1,201 people involved with a football team found that on average, every amateur club in the country is hit with five cancellations or postponements each season due to extreme weather.
Nearly three fifths (58%) of those involved in grassroots football, from players and coaches to volunteers and fans, say the impact on the amateur game has worsened in the past five years.
It is estimated 42% more games are called off because of adverse weather now than in 2016.
Among current players, 72% say they are put off playing football in extreme weather, while 80% have already cut back on their playing time.
Other issues cited are training sessions being called off (53%), reduced crowd numbers (51%) and difficulty finding match officials (51%).
The survey results brought an estimation that 62,524 games are affected every year.
It comes at the start of The Great Big Green Week, which celebrates taking action on climate change.
Fiona Dear, of The Climate Coalition, said: “Extreme weather conditions linked to climate change are already having a disruptive impact on the grassroots game, but we’ve also got deep concern about future participation levels.
“With the Met Office predicting that the UK could have between 70% and 100% more rain by 2080 – under 60 years away – it’s not beyond reason that participation in the grassroots game could all but vanish by that point.”
Richard Lindsay of Birmingham County FA, said: “There are great parallels between football and climate action.
“Both are topics that people in the UK are hugely passionate about, and both have the power to bring people together at a time when divisions in society have never been more visible.
“At Birmingham County FA, we’re proud to have launched our Save Today, Play Tomorrow programme to create and deliver lower carbon football in the West Midlands. During Great Big Green Week, we’ll be focusing on that even more heavily. If we want the grassroots game to thrive long into the future, now is the time for people to come together and take steps to preserve it.”