The first completely vegan squad could soon have a wooden stadium. Forest Green Rovers, who play in the National League (the English 5th division), have already hit the headlines for being eco-friendly, but their new stadium would be a big step forward towards sustainability and respect for the environment.
The English side have already distinguished themselves following a number of environmentally friendly decisions: not just for their vegan menu at the stadium (which doesn’t contain meat, fish or cow’s milk) but also for having a stadium with an organic pitch, a solar panel system and protecting wildlife habitats outside the ground. But Dale Vince, founder and chief executive of Ecotricity, decided all this wasn’t enough and held a competition to design the club’s new stadium.
The winning design, selected from over 50 entries, was made by Zaha Hadid Architects, who presented the idea of a completely eco-friendly stadium built almost entirely out of wood. The 5,000 seat stadium will be built near Stroud on a 100 acre site in Gloucestershire, and will cost around £100 million. Vince’s project isn’t limited to just building a new stadium though: it will also include training pitches, multi-disciplinary sports facilities and a sports science hub.
“The really standout thing about this stadium is that it’s going to be entirely made of wood – the first time that will have been done anywhere in the world,” Vince explained. “This really will be the greenest football stadium in the world. The importance of using wood is not only that it’s a naturally occurring material, it has very low carbon content, and if you bear in mind that around three quarters of the lifetime carbon impact of any stadium comes from its building materials, you can see why that’s so important.”