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Cambridge United win CUP26 trophy, football's biggest-ever climate competition

3 November 2021

Club News

Cambridge United win CUP26 trophy, football's biggest-ever climate competition

3 November 2021

Cambridge United have been awarded the inaugural CUP26 trophy at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow...

After weeks of feverish competition up and down the UK between 49 football clubs, Cambridge United earned a hard fought victory over eight other finalists to become the inaugural CUP26 champions, winning football’s biggest-ever climate tournament as the COP26 climate summit gets into full swing.

In a final full of fan action, Cambridge United proved too strong for the other finalists, including Arsenal, Fulham, Spurs and Aston Villa. The final marked the culmination of eight weeks of close competition that has seen incredible support from thousands of fans, families and schools who have been completing a series of goal scoring climate actions to help their team rise up the league table and protect the planet.

On hand to present the CUP26 trophy at the Cop26 Conference in Glasgow was ex England player and Tottenham Hotspur legend Ledley King, alongside Allegra Stratton, the Prime Ministers’ Spokesperson to COP26.

Alongside the trophy presentation, a number of other prizes for the CUP26 Tournament will today be awarded including the Golden Boot for the top-scoring player across the season and the Impact Hero award which went to the individual who made the biggest impact to their emissions reduction across the season.

Cambridge United’s fans also won the Planet Super League Impact Award for having the greatest impact during CUP26.

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.

CUP26 is powered 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 score 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.

This has reduced carbon emissions by 113,000 kg and equates to planting 6,450 trees.

Cambridge United CEO Ian Mather said, “We are delighted to win the CUP26 competition but the real winner here was the planet. 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.”

Ledley King, Tottenham Hotspur Ambassador, said, "Football is such an important force in the fight for a more sustainable world. It’s been amazing to see kids, parents and schools coming together to take part in CUP26, supporting their clubs and helping combat climate change. Small, meaningful actions really can make a difference. Huge congratulations to everyone who took part."

Allegra Stratton, 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.”

Tom Gribbin, CEO Planet Super League, 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.”

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