Arsenal star Hector Bellerin has invested in League Two side Forest Green Rovers, becoming their second largest shareholder.
The 25-year-old is ‘excited to help push football into having a sustainable future’ by getting involved with the Gloucestershire club that has been vegan since 2015 and carbon neutral since 2017.
The League Two side, run by chairman Dale Vince, has been recognised as the world’s most environmentally friendly football club by FIFA and the United Nations.
Bellerin, who has been vegan for three years himself and campaigns on environmental issues, sees the club as a perfect fit for him and is excited to be involved with the project.
He told the Forest Green Rovers website: ‘I was really excited when I first discovered the opportunity to get involved at Forest Green Rovers – and the brilliant work the club is already doing. It’s important that I invest in things I am passionate about – and I’m excited to help push football into having a sustainable future.
‘Forest Green Rovers prove to clubs who say “they don’t have resources to be sustainable” – that it is possible. With the new stadium, being carbon neutral and vegan the club is doing some mind-blowing work. People have a universal love of football, so there’s no better industry to promote sustainability – and what we can do as football supporters to be more environmentally conscious.
‘I have so much respect for everything that Dale Vince is doing with the club – and he’s paving the way for everyone else in the sport.”
‘I became a vegan around three years ago and at first, I just wanted to try it and detox my body. Initially, I thought I’d eat meat as a treat – but, being vegan just worked for me. After a month of being vegan, I felt stronger – and I didn’t struggle with ankle injuries anymore. I began to feel more energetic on the pitch – and I began to notice a real difference.’
Bellerin’s investment is below the threshold that would be considered a conflict of interest and he will be working with Vince in trying to raise awareness and enact change on environmental issues in football.
‘I like Hector’s approach,’ said the chairman. ‘His personal journey and the things he’s trying to do – they make sense. I’m looking forward to working with him on our projects at FGR and this wider agenda we have a shared interest in.’
Forest Green Rovers get their League Two campaign underway at Bolton on Saturday.
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