A BBC investigation into the flights taken by Premier League teams has shown that lots of players and teams regularly take flights for really short distances, and that planes are flown empty around the country ready for when teams need them.
The shortest flight identified by the BBC over a two-month period was a 17-minute ‘positioning’ flight, which is when a plane is flown to where it’ll shortly be needed. Some of the flights involved moving a plane from one London airport to another. Overall, the BBC found that over the course of 100 games, there were 81 flights involved.
Although football clubs argue that flights give their players longer to recover, many experts say there’s no real evidence to show that flying is any better or worse. Most Premier League teams also have huge amounts of money, so many people would expect them to take the lead in environmental matters, such as by using coaches powered by hydrogen or electricity for instance.
The Premier League told BBC Sport that it “recognises the need to take action on climate change and is committed to reducing its overall climate impact”.
An Arsenal spokesperson said that the club took into account “the reliability of alternative transport methods”, which probably reflects very valid concerns that trains in the UK are known for being unreliable. Generally, clubs and players prefer whichever method of transport gets them somewhere fastest.