Focussing on two teams at opposite end of the English football pyramid, a new short film aims to highlight the effects of climate change on the sport and how clubs can aid the fight against it.
Produced by environmental football charity Football For Future and free environmental documentary streaming platform WaterBear, Play On focuses on North Yorkshire’s Tadcaster Albion – who play in the Northern Premier League – and top-flight side Brighton.
Tadcaster is a club under threat as a direct result of climate change. The Brewers’ Ings Lane ground and the surrounding area has been flooded seven times since 2020 alone and their future is in jeopardy as a result.
In the film, both players and members of staff explain the huge problems Tadcaster has been facing over shots of the stadium completely immersed by water, with striker Eddie Church calling for immediate action as by 2050, a quarter of England’s professional clubs could be underwater.
The focus then shifts to Brighton and the work being done by the club to tackle climate change, from paperless tickets to waterless urinals – demonstrated by club legend and first-team coach Bruno as he makes his way through the Amex Stadium.
Speaking on the film’s release, Bruno said: “It’s important football begins to acknowledge how climate change is going to affect our beautiful game – and that we act now.
“I am not perfect. My club is not perfect – we know we still have work to do, improving the club’s environmental performance, but we’re very proud of the positive changes we’ve made at Brighton so far, and to have taken part in this short film. In the Premier League, it’s our job to lead the way.”
Tadcaster Albion chairman Andy Charlesworth added: “Our club has been flooded seven times since 2020, and it’s clear this is as a result of climate change. The sad thing is – we’re not the only ones. Clubs across the country and around the world are also suffering the effects of storms, extreme heat etcetera.
“If you listen to the scientists, it’s only going to get worse. If we want to play on, we need to keep raising awareness; improve flood defences; and act now to stop climate change from getting worse. Non-league clubs can only do so much.”
Play On is out now and the film is free to watch through the WaterBear platform here and on the WaterBear app.