Sunday, February 25, 2024

England stars face a SIX-HOUR coach trip for their Euro 2024 game against Denmark this summer, under new green rules cutting down on football’s love for short flights

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England’s players are facing a six-hour round trip by coach to reach their European Championship group game against Denmark this summer due to UEFA’s sustainability rules. 

UEFA have committed to making this summer’s tournament in Germany the greenest ever and are spending £25million on a range of sustainability measures, which includes asking teams to avoid air travel wherever possible.

UEFA’s guidance is understood to state that it is reasonable to expect sides to make journeys of around three hours by road or rail in order to cut emissions, although this has not been mandated. 

Mail Sport has learned that after talks with manager Gareth Southgate the FA have decided to follow UEFA’s directives for England’s second group C game against Denmark in Frankfurt, a 180-mile journey from their training camp at the Golfrestort Weimarer Land near Leipzig.

England’s two other group games in Gelsenkirchen and Cologne, against Serbia and Slovenia respectively, are over four hours away from their base camp by road so coach travel has been deemed impractical. 

England face a six-hour coach trip for their second Euro 2024 match against Denmark

Gareth Southgate's side will make the trip as part of a directive cutting down on short flights

Gareth Southgate’s side will make the trip as part of a directive cutting down on short flights

England are set to face a 180-mile trip from the Golfresort Weimarer Land training base

England are set to face a 180-mile trip from the Golfresort Weimarer Land training base

A three-hour coach journey however is still unusual for elite players, many of whom are accustomed to taking flights lasting a matter of minutes to travel to matches with their clubs.

Arsenal were strongly criticised by environmental campaigners for taking a 14-minute flight to Norwich for a Premier League game a few years ago, while other clubs regularly fly short distances, with Manchester United travelling to Leicester City by air for example.

The FA’s decision to take a coach trip will add to the players’ journey time, as the nearest airport to their hotel is just 30 miles away at Erfurt-Weimar, from where it is a 31-minute flight to Frankfurt. 

As a result the players will be in for a relatively late night given Southgate’s preference to return to base camp immediately after matches so they can recover properly the next day, although the 6pm kick-off should enable them be back at HQ between midnight and 1am.

The FA and other competing nations have until 24 February to submit their travel plans to UEFA. England’s travel plans for knockout stages have yet to be finalised, although given the distances involved it is unlikely there will be any other coach trips.

The only other venue within driving distance of England’s hotel is the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, which will stage the final, and even that is further than UEFA’s three-hour guidelines.

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