An alliance of A-League stars, Matildas, and Socceroos are aiming to tackle the environmental challenges facing football, with players exploring carbon reduction initiatives, including the introduction of a “green round” during an A-Leagues season. 

Through the PFA’s Our Greener Pitch initiative, launched in 2021, the group are exploring waste reduction practices within their clubs, the potential of league-wide sustainable initiatives and using their platform as professional footballers to advocate for industrial-level change to combat climate change. 

The group consists of Emma Iljovski and Sasha Grove (Canberra United), Emma Checker and Beattie Goad (Melbourne Victory), Melina Ayres (Newcastle Jets), Ben Halloran (Adelaide United), Aivi Luik and Alex Chidiac (Matildas), PFA President Jackson Irvine (Socceroos) and former Perth Glory midfielder Chris Harold.    

Meeting on a regular basis the group has also consulted with experts from Australia’s Climate Council and the UK’s Football for Future, a non-profit organisation building an environmentally sustainable culture in football, to understand the impacts football has on the climate and ways in which this can be tackled in Australia. 

“I’m passionate about [sustainability] because climate change is affecting the places that I love and the places I grew up,” Ayres, who studies environmental science, told

The players are eager to make a positive difference during a critical period for environmental preservation – and to reduce the impact on their workplace. The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) recently revealed that global temperatures are set to reach new records in the next five years. That will have consequences for the A-Leagues, a competition played in summer, given the domestic competition and its players have been affected by rising temperatures, poor air quality from bush fires and flooding. 

Globally, the football industry is responsible for more than 30 million tons of carbon dioxide every year, about the same as a small country like Denmark. 

“At the moment we are building a group of players that are aligned in their passion and care for being climate conscious and making decisions that positively impact the planet,” Emma Checker said. 

“Given our platform as athletes, it’s so important that we bring that group together, because in sport there is so much room for change and growth. 

“The aim is to generate better practices and education in clubs and more broadly in the A-Leagues. We know it’s a process, but we have to start, and this is our time to step up.” 

Jackson Irvine, Socceroos midfielder and PFA President, acknowledges the complexities of individuals taking on such a significant task given the sheer scale of industrial emissions, as well as the “hypocrisy” of professional footballers travelling globally to ply their trade. 

“I’m very aware of the hypocrisy of an international footballer sitting here preaching about the environment when I jump on a plane to travel around the world to play in football matches.  

“That’s an inevitable part of our industry, and through Our Greener Pitch, we’re able to offset those emissions.” 

Through the PFA’s partnership with GreenCollar, the Matildas and Socceroos offset the carbon footprint of Australia’s national teams during their FIFA World Cup campaigns in 2022 and 2023.  

The group will also meet with A-Leagues organisers, Australian Professional Leagues, to discuss ways the players and the league can work together to achieve Our Greener Pitch environmental objectives such as carbon reduction, including the possibly of a carbon neutral ‘green’ round, plastic waste reduction in stadiums, and education for fans and stakeholders. 

Any players who would like to contribute to the PFA’s Our Greener Pitch initiative, please contact the PFA at or talk to your PFA Player Development Manager.