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Former Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini urges football to ‘stand up for climate change’

Flamini last played for Arsenal in 2016 (Getty Images)
Flamini last played for Arsenal in 2016 (Getty Images)

Former Arsenal, Crystal Palace and Marseille midfielder Mathieu Flamini has called upon football’s clubs, players, governing bodies and fans to help tackle climate change.

The 39-year-old Frenchman, who co-founded GF Biochemicals, a company that mass produces alternatives to oil-based products, said that football “needs to stand up for climate change”.

In an interview with The Observer, Flamini urged those involved in the game to “start finding solutions. Offsetting carbon is one of those solutions. But it’s the minimum.

“Climate change is being ignored. If we talk about countries like India and China, people can’t exercise outdoors any more. Do we want to get there?”

Flamini, who co-founded his company in 2008 while at AC Milan, is an ambassador for the Green Football Weekend, an initiative that seeks to encourage fans to make sustainable changes to their lives. This year, the message focuses on how eating vegetarian can be good for the planet.

Mathieu Flamini has started a new venture since leaving football (AFP via Getty Images)
Mathieu Flamini has started a new venture since leaving football (AFP via Getty Images)

The Frenchman, who is on the environmental committee for the 2024 Olympics in Paris, also set out how the sport’s governing bodies can help fight climate change.

“Sourcing food locally, vegetarian options for the athletes and the fans, avoiding plastics, using products made more sustainably than from fossil fuels, trying to reduce transport. It’s about integrating all those solutions into planning. It’s a journey.”

As for players, although they “will probably have a sports car”, they can “do other things, like become a vegan, or offset his carbon, or create awareness through his platform. Maybe later he’ll get an electric car.”

“Our game is being affected but we are not blaming anyone here,” he said.

“We are bringing the table out and trying to make sense. Football – and sport – is one of the last things we have that can unite people.

“If you multiply people making a change by billions then you can make a big impact.”