Arsenal defender Bellerin buys stake in eco-friendly team

LONDON (AP) — Arsenal and Spain defender Hector Bellerin has invested to become the second largest shareholder at Forest Green Rovers (FGR), the English fourth division club renowned for its environmental activism.

Rovers are recognised by FIFA and the United Nations as the world’s greenest football club.

Chairman Dale Vince, a green energy industrialist, has introduced eco-friendly elements at the club in southwest England such as solar panels on its New Lawn stadium, the use of a solar-powered robot grass mower, and the creation of the world’s first organic football pitch.

Like Bellerin, Rovers are vegan and became the world’s first carbon neutral sports club in 2017.

Bellerin, who recently raised money to plant 60,000 trees in the Amazon rainforest, will work with Vince in a new relationship with the aim to help raise the environmental agenda in football among clubs, leagues and supporters.

“So many people feel there’s no solution to the world’s problems, but Forest Green are already doing plenty — and showing others the way,” the 25-year-old Bellerin said. “I’m so excited to be part of the FGR family. I’ll be helping where I can, supporting people who want to change the world for the better.”

Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso (L) challenges for the ball with Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin during the FA Cup final football match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium in London, England on August 1. PHOTO: AP