Reading out the FA Cup but score against climate change

The side wore a kit with red stripes to show how the Earth has warmed in recent years

Big Zero Report 2023

Reading Football Club managed to attack climate change in their FA Cup defeat to Manchester United.

The club wore a shirt during the match made entirely from recycled plastic bottles and with red and blue stripes on the sleeves.

Red on the sleeves was not there to represent the Red Devils however, with each stripe meant to represent temperatures across a year, with blue meaning a cooler year and red a year that was hotter than usual.

Professor Ed Hawkins from the University of Reading developed the shirt to also represent what had been happening specifically in Manchester – with the city previously being blue and now red.

This has nothing to do with City or United though, as Mr Hawkins explains: “Although this might sound good to United fans, it’s nothing to cheer about. The band of deep red stripes show how the city’s climate has heated up over recent years.”

Paul Ince’s side’s 3-1 defeat to Erik Ten Hag’s Manchester United was televised on ITV and provided a chance for climate change to be discussed on mainstream television and throughout the sporting world.

Mr Hawkins added: “Like all areas of society, football needs to cut its carbon footprint to net zero. That means we need the stars on the pitch and the fans in the stands to all play their part. The first step is to understand the problem, which is why we want to start conversations.

“If you think how hot 2022 was and then realise that those 12 months will likely be one of the coolest years of the rest of our lives, I think we will regret not having acted sooner on these warnings.”

Reading Football Club commented: “Working in partnership with the University of Reading, we launched new home and away kits which incorporated the climate stripes design – an infographic which demonstrates the way that the world is warming.

“In detail, the stripes represent the average annual global temperature since 1850, using reds for hotter years and blues for cooler years – and they are widely recognised as a universal and simple illustration helping everyone visualise how temperatures have risen dramatically due to climate change.”

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