Biking to Soccer

The 2021/2022 season of the Spanish soccer league kicks off this weekend.

How about starting to cycle to soccer?

2022, stands for the explosion of bicycle sales in major Spanish cities.

A new La Liga season kicks off on Friday with Valencia-Getafe, a strange season with neither Lionel Messi nor Sergio Ramos, but where cycling will be the star of the season.

The fact is that there are already many football players who cycle to the stadium for matches or training, such as Gerard Piqué.

Gerard Piqué with his son, on his way to the Nou Camp (Barcelona)

But not only the bicycle, but the Spanish national team itself used the electric scooteras a transportation vehicle during the training camp in the Soccer City of Las Rozas. If anything is clear to us, it is that the scooter is the vehicle of the future within the cities with a significant increase in recent months.

This new mode of transportation is due to the different sponsorships that the RFEF itself has, in addition to raising awareness among fans to use more sustainable vehicles.

But what about commuting in the League?

Over 80% of La Liga fans are members of the 20 different clubs that participate each season.

The stadiums are centers of mobility attraction during weekends, where a large number of people concentrate in the stadium and its surroundings, but today they are a problem of both mobility and traffic congestion.

If you cycle to soccer, there are all advantages and benefits: from your own health, economic savings, travel time and the fact of commuting in vehicles with 0% CO2 emissions.

There is no clear policy by La Liga on the promotion and use of bicycles to the stadiums, as there is in other stadiums in other leagues. One example is the Antwerp stadium in Belgium, where the parking lot has been replaced by double-height parking spacesso that fans can cycle to the soccer match.

Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands are pioneers in promoting bicycle mobility to stadiums with new policies. Decrease in parking spaces, incentives, etc.

Are stadiums really adapted to host more cycling fans?

There are many cities that are committed to sustainable mobility, such as Valencia, Bilbao or Seville, by installing more bicycle lanes, but to date, after making some visits, several of the stadiums lack an infrastructure adapted to host more urban cyclists and as stadiums occupy a large urban area, space isn’t the reason.

One of the examples could be San Mamés, which has a parking lot very close to the stadium, located in the intermodal station, where you can find a public bicycle service or inverted U parking lots.

From Mobility By Cycling Friendly, we have cycled over 50% of the stadiums in La Liga and found very little infrastructure for cycling to soccer.

Does La Liga and soccer clubs promote sustainable mobility to their fans?

The answer could be clear and resounding with a NO, but analyzing the official pages of the clubs, social networks and the league itself in its sustainability reports, they do not even address the issue of sustainable mobility.

In 2020, the La Liga submitted the “Sustainability Report”, which includes the section on “sustainable clubs”, but the issue of sustainable mobility for clubs and stadiums was ignored.

In the latter report, there are two strategies:

  • Basic strategy: including plans and strategies of commuting to football stadiums.
  • Advanced strategy: the development of employee mobility plans.

Is it a problem that the football stadium is municipal?

That could be a question with a clear answer, but it is not a reason not to adapt the facilities, because the contracts that the clubs sign with the municipalities themselves allow them to adapt their facilities.

But these policies could be changed by carrying out sustainable mobility plans for soccer stadiums or a mobility study for each club adapted to the characteristics of their members and the stadium itself as an initial phase, a second phase of adaptation of the infrastructures inside or outside the stadium and incentive planning for fans.

Improving all these actions would mean a quality leap for La Liga in terms of mobility and compliance with the 2030 SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) and reduce the carbon footprint.

Change always starts in football, and Mobility By Cycling Friendly wants to be a part of it.

In addition, there is another way to go to the stadiums in a sustainable way, and that is to encourage members during member promotions with discounts, bonuses or gifts when cycling to soccer.

There is still a lot of work to be done, in an exciting new season, more and more equal, but with a remaining answer.

Who will be the most sustainable club and the one that is most committed to sustainable mobility during the 2021/2022 season?

At the end of the season we will tell you and hand the prize to the winner of The League + sustainable.


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