Several professional footballers, such as Lionel Messi or Hector Bellerin, are increasingly cutting down the amount of meat and animal products in their diet to stay healthy and on the pitch for as long as possible.

From 2nd to 5th February 2024, the Green Football Weekend encouraged football fans to go for the veggie option in a bid to do good for the climate, and several footballers have been helping this campaign.  Animal agriculture, and the animal-based food system that sadly dominates the UK as it is heavily subsidised, are major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions that are changing the planet’s climate for the worse. According to the campaign, if UK football fans swapped to having one veggie meal a day, this would be the equivalent of removing 5.5 million cars from the road every year, in terms of carbon emissions.

The Green Football Weekend Veggie Cookbook contains recipes from sport-loving chefs (such as Ainsley Harriot and Michel Roux Jr) and contributions from footballers like Raheem Sterling.

Alfie Steiner, a plant-based cook who helped launch this campaign, said to the Independent, “A great start is choosing veggie dishes every once in a while – you don’t need to go vegan, you don’t need to go veggie – it’s giving it a try and seeing how it goes. Championing vegetables and whole plant foods as opposed to meat all the time, because the consumption of meat and the way it’s produced a lot of the time can adversely affect the environment and cause deforestation, all this sort of stuff. It’s really important that we’re conscious of what we’re eating, how it affects our bodies and minds, as well as the planet we live on.”

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.