How the Titans of the Premier League Have a Role to Play in the Community in Terms of Sustainability; Heledd Jenkins Is a Research Associate at Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society at Cardiff University. She Is Currently Investigating the Social and Environmental Sustainability of Sports Organisations

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Byline: Heledd Jenkins

WHEN you attend a football game on a Saturday do you think about the social and environmental impacts of the sport? How did you travel to the game? How much water is used to irrigate the pitch? How much energy do those big floodlights use? How involved is your club in its local community? Which charities does it support? Many sporting organisations are now beginning to address the fact that sport can positively impact on society and is demanding on the environment, particularly with the emphasis on sustainability and regeneration at the London 2012 Olympics. Past research by colleagues at Cardiff University into the sustainability of large sports events such as the FA Cup final revealed a shortage of data on the social and environmental impacts of sport and a lack of in-depth understanding of how sports organisations understand and put into practice their responsibilities in these areas.

Using the English Premier League as a case study, my research aims to fill some of these knowledge gaps and gain a better understanding of the social and environmental impacts of a high profile sport like football.

Football is a unique and powerful cultural phenomenon. Its power to engage, youth appeal and potential to influence are substantial, but can it positively change its own behaviour and the behaviour of others when it comes to minimising environmental impact and addressing social concerns? My research shows that football clubs acknowledge their responsibility to improve social and environmental performance and give something back to the community. Premier League clubs deliver a wide range of community engagement projects, which address issues such as social inclusion, health, sports participation and education, and support a number of charities each year. …