Can Football Save The Oceans?

Save the oceans? Football? You will very likely think that I have gone completely bonkers. But… Bayern Munich and Real Madrid have joined the mission to clean up the oceans.

Xabi Alonso, Bayern Munich, for the oceans (c adidas)
Xabi Alonso, Bayern Munich, for the oceans (c adidas)

It was two days ago when I heard that FC Bayern Munich will play this week’s Bundesliga match against TSG Hoffenheim in shirts made of ocean plastic. As I was absolutely surprised by this I wanted more background information and powered up my laptop. What did I find? Not only Bayern Munich was going to wear those adidas x Parley shirts, but also Real Madrid in one of their upcoming matches.

Little (ok, nothing!) did I know of all that. So, what’s the background and aim of that one-off ocean plastics kit hype? What has made those clubs support the quest to save the oceans?

Football players raise awareness to save the oceans

Xabi Alonso (Bayern Munich) and Marcelo (Real Madrid) are two main messengers for this campaign. Both grew up near the beach, hence their close relationship to beaches and oceans. They are happy that they have a chance to spread the message to a huge audience.

And what an audience it will be! Bayern’s match vs Hoffenheim is a top match in the Bundesliga, viewed live worldwide. Real Madrid’s presence on tvs and in retail shops all over the globe is even more valuable when it comes to getting the word out.

“I’m a child of the beaches of Spain, so I’m really happy to wear a shirt entirely made of recycled ocean waste. It’s a great opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of protecting the oceans”, said Xabi Alonso.

What are the shirts adidas x Parley made of?

Plastic pollution picked up during a clean-up operation around the Maldives has been used to produce the kits. To keep the entire kit as environmentally friendly as possible, the clubs, their sponsors, the football associations as well as adidas have agreed that their logos would not really be visible (eco-friendly production process).

Marcelo, Real Madrid, for the oceans (c adidas)
Marcelo, Real Madrid, for the oceans (c adidas)

During research for this article I am sure I have read somewhere how many plastic bottles have been used to produce those shirts. The number was, if I remember correctly, 28 for one shirt. While typing these lines, I have tried to find the correct number again – and was not able to locate the source of that information… (oh well).

Still, if 28 is somewhat close to the correct number, then just try to think how many plastic bottles would be needed to produce all football (and other sport) kits worldwide? How many bottles would need to be fished out of the oceans? Now that’s a plan! Shortage of plastic waste in oceans could be the result…

A message, or rather a statement to save the oceans

The message on the collar reads “For the oceans”, and I certainly do hope millions of people will read it. And start their own research on where this message came from. Plus, of course, continue their thought process and finally save the oceans.

With Bayern Munich and Real Madrid two heavyweights have given a clear message. The two teams won’t save the oceans themselves, of course, but they are fantastic examples for millions of people. I hope lots of folks will get the message. And I also hope lots of folks will start acting.

There is just one final paragraph on this from me. I have not dug deep enough to find out whether the production process for these adidas x Parley shirts is really as eco-friendly as adidas and the clubs have stated. For now, I simply will believe it is. Plus keep my eyes open for any news on those shirts.

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