Vegetarian frikandel and electric cars: FC Dordrecht plays climate neutral
reporter NOS Sports
reporter NOS Sports
Stewards wearing yellow vests stand at the gate in front of the FC Dordrecht parking lot. If they spot an electric car from a distance, they open the gate. But when in doubt, the driver is addressed. The instructions are clear: cars running on fossil fuels are not allowed in today.
As the first club in professional soccer, FC Dordrecht is organizing a climate-neutral match on Friday night. That requires some of the adaptability of supporters, who have to come to the stadium in other ways for the game with TOP Oss.
“For example, you can take the Q-bus from station to stadium for free tonight,” says president Jasper Ophorst of the supporters’ association. “But we also have parking for bikes here, you can come by water bus. There are many possibilities.”
Visitors as well as the arbitration all came to the game climate-neutral:
Disabled supporters were also taken into account. “Those people will be picked up and brought home after the match. Grandpa Chris, for example, a diehard Dordrecht supporter, will soon be brought this way in a very nice electric car.”
Cups as collectors’ items
Ophorst tells his story in a tent where beer is poured in reusable cups. “These are hard-plastic cups that we want to use again next year,” he says. The cups are currently unprinted, but if it is up to Ophorst, in the future they will become collectors items. “Then we want to put signatures on them, or pictures of players. Then supporters can make a nice mantelpiece out of Dordrecht cups.”
As innovation manager of FC Dordrecht, Leon Vlemmings was the pacesetter for the climate neutral match. An initiative he hopes will spark something in Dordrecht. “We set to work a few months ago to accelerate sustainability goals for the club, the city and the region. Soccer has a connecting power and we want to show that here with a theme like sustainability.”
On the other hand, soccer in particular, with its many movements of teams and supporters, was environmentally polluting for a long time. “You see that soccer is currently catching up,” Vlemmings states. “Also the KNVB is working with the clubs to take responsibility together towards 2030.”
Referee Robin Hensgens leads by example with his refereeing team. He arrives in Dordrecht in an electric car. “We were allowed to borrow that especially for this match. It’s obviously a lot better for the environment than coming with your own car. And the four of us came, which also saves another three vehicles.”
In this way Dordrecht offers a taste of what the green future may bring. Although Vlemmings understands that not everything will be easy to achieve.
“I hope not, but there will undoubtedly be people who park their cars in the neighborhood and come here that way. And another example: we want to get rid of gas as soon as possible and be connected to the heat grid. But we haven’t managed to get the business plan all the way through yet.”
The turf master walks behind the stadium with a large bag in his hands. “There’s organic manure in there. That is completely biodegradable. We use that to avoid burdening the field with all kinds of chemicals.” Mowing the mat, on the other hand, could be even more environmentally friendly. “Currently we still do that with a motor. In the future we want to mow electrically, on batteries. Such a lawnmower is still too expensive for now. But other devices, such as the leaf blower, we do already have on a battery.”
FC Dordrecht’s example is piquing the interest of other clubs, nationally and internationally. “We are sharing our experiences with the Pro League in Belgium. And in June, La Liga from Spain will come to Dordrecht, with representatives from Barcelona, Real Madrid and Sevilla. We don’t have all the wisdom, but we like to share our knowledge.”
In the kitchen of the supporters’ home, meanwhile, snacks are being prepared. Tonight, the frikandel sandwich has given way to a vegetarian variant, which has been renamed the “Leondel,” named after the innovation manager. A volunteer dressed in the green Dordrecht shirt must provide the delicacy’s topping. “Green, vegetable mayonnaise, for the FC Dordrecht feeling.” His colleague adds: “But tonight a green sauce will be poured over everything.”