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Cambridge United beat Arsenal, Fulham and Aston Villa to win Planet Super League CUP26 Trophy

Cambridge United Community Trust education and skills manager Ashley Dyer is presented with the CUP26 Trophy in Glasgow. Picture: Brunswick Group (52848636)
Cambridge United Community Trust education and skills manager Ashley Dyer is presented with the CUP26 Trophy in Glasgow. Picture: Brunswick Group (52848636)

Cambridge United have become the inaugural Planet Super League CUP26 champions.

Supporters have been completing a series of goal-scoring climate actions to help the U's rise up the league table in their efforts to protect the planet as part of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

United proved too strong for the other finalists, which included Arsenal, Fulham, Spurs and Aston Villa during the eight-week competition.

The U's fans also won the Planet Super League Impact Award for having the greatest impact during CUP26.

They scored 7,150 goals which equated to 30,482kg of CO2 saved and that is equal to 1,742 trees saved.

“We are delighted to win the CUP26 competition but the real winner here was the planet,” said United chief executive Ian Mather. “Through the power of football we encouraged schools, staff, fans and the local community involved and we raised awareness of what everyone can do to combat climate change.

“We held a Planet Super League day at our recent game against Wimbledon, where fans completed environmentally friendly activities at the stadium.

“Alongside football clubs across the UK we engage with our communities in a range of ways, including disability sport and mental health activities, which make a real difference to the lives of so many people.

“It is this connectivity to the community that makes the UK football pyramid of clubs such a valuable asset and we are delighted to have used this power for such for important cause.”

CUP26 was run by Planet Super League, who engage families to take action against climate change through football, and Count Us In, a global movement of people taking practical steps to protect what they love from climate change.

Fans scored goals for their clubs by taking green actions. Since the tournament’s launch in early September, more than 27,500 goals have been registered and verified, accounting for over 14,300 climate actions.

The CUP26 activities have included

  • No Moura Landfill - Show off your football skills while recycling in this Lucas Moura-backed activity
  • Leg power 5k - Go for a walk/cycle instead of using the car
  • Pumped up - Pump up your car tyres
  • Club bird feeder - Make a bird feeder and decorate in your club’s colours
  • Screens off - Try a screen-free evening
  • Electric transfer - Switch to a green electricity supplier
  • Over the line - Hanging out the washing instead of using the tumble drier
  • Smart move - Get a smart meter installed
  • Natural talent - Snap an animal or plant found on a football club badge
  • Bug stadium - Build a football stadium for the bugs
  • Snap a bug - Get into nature and identify an insect
  • Meat-free meal - Eat a meat-free meal
  • Fergie time food - Grab some yellow ticket food from the supermarket
  • No moo milk - Try plant-based milk
  • Charity shop drop - Donate a bag of preloved clothes

The activities have reduced carbon emissions by 113,000kg and equates to planting 6,450 trees, and 1,000 football pitches in the Democratic Republic of Congo will now be protected on their behalf through a CUP26 donation to the Rainforest Trust UK.

Tom Gribbin, Planet Super League chief executive officer, said: “This is the first time football has come together at this scale for climate change and we are delighted by the huge impact that CUP26 has had. There have been so many exciting moments during the tournament, and today is the time to recognise the energy, enthusiasm, and impact of football fans around the UK.

“And this is only the beginning: we’ll be doing a lot more next year to inspire everyday football fans to do their bit.”

Allegra Stratton, the Prime Minister’s spokesperson to COP26, said: “It has been wonderful to witness how many children, schools and communities have taken green action as part of the CUP26 tournament. They’ve reduced their own carbon footprint and shown they want to see climate action at COP26, which we are working hard to achieve.

“Football has an incredibly important role in helping to tackle climate change and it’s exciting to see so many clubs mobilising their fans.”

Cambridge United Community Trust education and skills manager Ashley Dyer represented the club at the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow and will be live on the One Show tonight (Wednesday, November 3) from 7pm to discuss the success.

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