FOOTBALL is severely threatened by global warming.
A quarter of professional football clubs in England and Wales face annual flooding of their stadiums this decade – and could even face total flooding DIVED until 2050.
Sunday night’s explosive Sky Sports documentary on climate change details the dangers facing the beautiful game in the 21st century.
The program warns West Ham, Chelsea and Fulham that their stadiums will not be able to cope with the increasing rainfall forecast over the next few years.
And the FA admitted: “The climate crisis is one of the most pressing issues of our time.
“Climate change at its current rate will have far-reaching effects on all of us.
“In football we are already seeing games affected by extreme weather – particularly in our grassroots communities.”
Leading climate change scientist David Goldblatt has calculated that a quarter of teams in the top four leagues will soon struggle to host regular games due to rising sea levels.
And he believes several Prem stadiums will be flooded over the next 28 years as the effects of global warming change the country’s landscape forever.
Speaking of Football’s Toughest Opponent, Goldblatt said, “Extreme weather leads to extreme flooding.
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“This is the climate crisis. We’re not talking about a few puddles on the pitch, we’re talking about 1.5 meters of water – so no football.
“It’s really serious in England. My calculations assume that by 2050 around a quarter of the professional stadiums in the top 4 leagues will be at risk of flooding or even be under water every year.
Goldblatt cites figures published in his Rapid Transition Alliance document, which examined the future of global esports in a changing climate.
Sheffield Wednesday fans can certainly remember the 2007 floods when the Hillsborough pitch was inundated after the River Don burst its banks.
Brunton Park in Carlisle was also hit by flooding when Storm Desmond decimated Cumbria almost seven years ago.
The documentary also claims that a third of England’s ‘at risk’ grass pitches lose around six weeks each season to flooding and poor drainage.
Goldblatt said: “If we’re talking about threatened coastal stadiums, Southampton’s St Mary’s is very close to the water and very low.
“Blundell Park in Grimsby and Glanford Park in Scunthorpe are in serious trouble.
“And then inland there are more extreme rains, more extreme storms and systems that can’t handle the amount of water that’s coming into them.
“It will affect some really big clubs. West Ham at the Olympic Stadium, Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge.
“Fulham’s Craven Cottage is really in trouble – their shop was flooded earlier this year. There’s more to come from that.”
League One Lincoln chief executive Liam Scully said: “In the last 4½ years since I’ve been at the Football Club we’ve had pretty big floods on two occasions.
“They look at the revenue perspective and the cost of damage control and the cost of restoring things.
“Football clubs are pillars of society. Football clubs are much more than just a venue for Saturday 3pm games. We also lose these off-match activities.”
It’s not just heavy rain, of course.
Football teams are grappling with soaring temperatures – especially as the UK hit a record-breaking 40.3C in July.
And playing in bad air pollution has a big impact on player performance.
As a person who has a small profile I will try to use that to help in any way
However, football clubs are fighting back and doing their best to save the planet.
There are various green initiatives and many actors are very aware of themselves that they can make a difference.
Brentford defender Ben Mee, 33, says he has made efforts to offset the carbon he has caused by driving on the M6 and M1 motorways following his free transfer from Burnley in the summer.
Mee said: “I donated to a charity that plants trees and does climate work in the environment.
“Ideally, it would have been a completely CO2-neutral transfer for us. But logistics and transfers happen quickly, which is always difficult.
“I’ve been dealing with it over the last few years and I’ve become more aware of the environment.
“As a person who has a bit of a profile, I’ll try to use that to help in some way.”
Watch Football’s Toughest Opponent on Sky Sports Premier League on Sunday at 19:30 and 21:00.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6399619/chelsea-stadium-underwater-climate-change/ Chelsea’s stadium could be UNDER WATER in 30 years, with one in three clubs in the Premier League at risk from climate change