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Sustainable Soccer

Football grows bigger with each passing year, and so does its responsibility to promote sustainability and the best interests of its own community and future.

We’ve carefully selected 13 stadiums from around the globe to show what the sustainable future of football might look like.


Amsterdam ArenA, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The Dutch have a knack for innovation, and Ajax’s home ground is no different.

The Amsterdam ArenA is net climate-neutral: it has 4,200 solar panels and various renewable measures ensuring that the ground achieves net zero carbon emissions – offsetting any fossil fuel usage or carbon emissions generated by its operation.

The stadium itself is cooled by using the water from a nearby lake. There are even intelligently placed wind turbines around the site that generate ample electricity too. If all that wasn’t enough, it’s the world’s first stadium to use 100% renewable seating - every seat is made from sugarcane. 

Olympic Stadium, London, England

Olympic bids are a huge onetime event for their host countries. Because of this, the post-Olympic life of a park needs to be carefully considered before the torch arrives. The focus for the London Olympics and its stadia was legacy.

Social, economic and green considerations were considered when converting industrial sites in East London into usable community spaces.

Rubble from derelict buildings was used to create walls and extend wildlife habitats. From planning to present, everything in and around the Olympic park was set up to leave a lasting and positive impact in London.

To make facilities manageable, and to avoid them standing empty for future years, high capacity stadiums have had their capacity lowered to make them viable. For example, the swimming centre had temporary stands that boosted its capacity to 15,000 during the 2012 games, but now with the additional wings removed, the capacity is a viable 2,500.

Now, six years since the London Olympics, the legacy of the park continues to grow. Eight of the permanent Olympic venues are open. West Ham United has made the Olympic Stadium its new home, ensuring that the stadium and park will continue to thrive in the years to come.

The legacy will extend even further with permission for 6,800 new homes granted in the area. These new neighbourhoods, such as East Village (formerly the Olympic Village) include modern facilities, amenities and almost 1,500 affordable homes.

Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund, Germany

Dortmund is known for its industrious efficiency, and now its football club has been rolling out green energy initiatives.

Its partnership with renewable energy provider Lichtblick means all the club’s facilities including the stadium, training pitches, headquarters and everything in between are powered by clean, green energy. It’s a model for sustainability that leaves a high marker for all clubs across Europe.

Forest Green Rovers, Nailsworth, England

With the amount of money going into the upper reaches of the football world, it might be surprising that most clubs will be outdone by one with a fraction of the budget. Forest Green Rovers, who are in the fourth tier of English football are on course to build the world’s first wooden stadium.

It’s sustainable and is one of the lowest embodied carbon building materials. According to figures from Forest Green Rovers, around three quarters of a stadium’s lifetime carbon footprint comes from its building materials. That means, right from the off this pioneering stadium will have one of the lowest carbon impacts of any stadium across the world. There are plans for the surrounding area to be rejuvenated too, providing jobs and facilities to this quaint countryside town.

Living up to its name, this could well be the world’s greenest club.

North America

The MetLife Stadium, New York, United States

Not to be outdone by its European cousins, the 82,000-capacity stadium in the Big Apple has taken big strides in reducing its own carbon footprint.

During its construction, over 40,000 tonnes of recycled steel were used, while the seats themselves are partially made of reclaimed metals and recycled plastics. And the ultra-modern colour LED lights found throughout the arena are powered by the stadium’s solar ring on its roof.

South America

Estadio Mineirão, Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Brazil managed to capture the imagination of a nation ahead of its 2014 World Cup where the global spotlight honed in on South America. The finals saw innovation too: the 62,000-capacity Estadio Mineirão received an overhaul and became the first Brazilian stadium to be fitted with a solar-powered roof. The stadium now provides power to nearly 1,000 homes every year with its 6,000 solar panels.

Morro da Mineira, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro is home to the world’s first ever people-powered football pitch. In a city famed for street football and Joga bonito, it would seem only right that the community can power their own pitch with the speed of their play.

Opened by Pele, this street stadium was built in 2014 and its 200 underground kinetic tiles convert players’ movements into energy that fuels its floodlights. Beautifully simple, the community here will get out what they put in.

Rest of the World

Metricon Stadium, Carrara, Australia

Australia faces a great amount of sunshine throughout the year, so it makes a lot of sense to make the most of this renewable source.

Carrara’s Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast has modernised itself in recent years to make the most of the sun’s power. With 574 solar panels capturing the sun’s rays, the stadium will give approximately 275,000 kWh of electricity to the national grid each year.

Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto, Alajuela, Costa Rica

Despite its poverty, Costa Rica is a country renowned for its ecotourism. This small, central American country is always looking for ways to innovate and become self-sustainable.

Deportiva Alajuelense became the first Costa Rican club to power its stadium with solar panels in 2015. It's estimated that the 864 panels here will generate nearly 400,000 kWh annually, saving the club an estimated $148,000 (£109,000) each year.

New Antalya Stadium, Antalya, Turkey

Antalya’s new home became Turkey’s first solar-powered stadium in 2015. Its roof is 75% covered with around 5,600 solar panels, and generates enough electricity each week to offset any electricity used from the grid on match days. 

Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar

The issue of a summer World Cup to be held in the searing heat of Qatar will be debated until the moment a football is kicked – but the country is making sure that its first steps towards the tournament are positive ones.

Qatar’s national stadium, the first to be completed before the 2022 World Cup, has become the first in the world to be awarded a four-star rating from the Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS). It’s innovative and energy-efficient cooling technology, alongside the sustainable building practices could suggest that despite the debate, Qatar could well pull off a successful and sustainable World Cup.

National Stadium, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Completed in 2009, Taiwan’s spectacular dragon-shaped stadium is home to a whopping 8,844 solar panels that cover 14,155 sq meters. Amazingly, by harnessing as much sunlight as possible, the stadium is 100% powered by the sun.

The stadium boasts plenty of other green credentials too; with permeable paving to help with rainfall and flood prevention, as well as extensive use of reusable and domestically made materials and products. The architects made a great effort to include lots of green space. The surrounding area is covered in foliage and any vegetation that required clearing during the construction was relocated accordingly.

Thinking outside the box

While some clubs are building state of the art, eco-friendly stadiums around the world, this isn’t the only way clubs are reducing their carbon footprint. There are plenty of other initiatives that clubs are introducing to find creative and alternative ways to maximise sustainability.

Here are some of our favourites:

  • Manchester United’s ‘Go the Distance’ pitch is made from the rubber of 2,200 recycled tyres. The facility is right next to Old Trafford and it’s hoped that it will encourage the next generation of talent.
  • Bayern Munich and Real Madrid teamed up with adidas and Parley to campaign against the volume of plastic waste in the ocean. Using salvaged plastic from the ocean they created football boots and shirts that were made with 100% recycled waste. By 2024 adidas aims to use recycled plastic in all of its products.
  • Nike has its ‘reuse-a-shoe’ donation program, where it takes used and worn-out shoes and recycles them. The program reduces the volume of shoes that go to landfill and in turn creates something new, like playgrounds, tracks and even new Nike products.
RM 600, RM 1000 ROB600, ROB1000
Working area capacity 1000 m² ±20%
Cutting Height, min-max 20-50 mm
Maximum slope performance inside installation 25 %