Follow us for the latest updates

  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
ACC Web AD.gif

Bundesliga aims to become first sustainable soccer league

The German Football League (DFL) has set out new plans for the Bundesliga and the 2.Bundesliga to become the world’s first carbon neutral domestic soccer competitions.

Clubs are set to vote in December on whether to include green criteria in licensing process, with Taskforce for the Future of Professional Football planning to implement new measures and the DFL potentially introducing new incentives and sanctions for clubs by 2024.


The German Football League (DFL) has set out new plans for the Bundesliga and the 2.Bundesliga to become the world’s first carbon neutral domestic soccer competitions.


On August 19th, the DFL announced that clubs would take a vote in December on whether to incorporate environmental sustainability into its licensing programme. Environmental sustainability is at the forefront of the objectives outlined by the DFL’s ‘Taskforce for the Future of Professional Football’.


The taskforce, which combines 36 sport, business and political experts, also highlighted financial stability, communication with fans, and support for the growth of the professional women’s game as other main aims for domestic German soccer. "This is only the first step of a marathon," DFL board member Christian Pfennig told Forbes. "Our goal is to anchor sustainability oriented [initiatives] to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals as another key factor in our licensing program by 2022/23. Then the following year, we want to introduce incentives, but also sanctions should a club fail to meet the minimum criteria." Pfennig confirmed to the US business publication that the exact criteria will be developed together in the coming months with external experts.


A number of German clubs have received plaudits for their commitment to sustainability. Wolfsburg use 100 per cent green energy at their Volkswagen Arena, plan to be full carbon neutral by 2025 and were recently named as the Bundesliga’s greenest club by Sport Positive. Freiburg have used solar energy at their Schwarzwald-Stadion and will continue to do so when they move into their new home when it opens in October. Elsewhere, Mainz became the Bundesliga’s first carbon neutral club in 2010.


Now the DFL wants to centralise its approach to sustainability, as it has done successfully with youth academies and supporter liaison officers (SLOs). "The most important step now is to create a framework for the different clubs that are part of the DFL, from a Champions League participant to teams promoted from the third division," Pfennig said.


He added: "There is no ideal world or ideal football. We are aware that we will have to adjust our goals, also taking into account the background of an enormous change in all areas of life. That's why we need a framework and always work in improving our goals."


Author: Paula Holguin