Tue 19 Mar 2024, 19:29 · Ash Harrison

Report: Newcastle have been targeted by activists following yesterday's announcement

Report: Newcastle have been targeted by activists following yesterday's announcement
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Yesterday Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur announced they'd be travelling to Australia at the end of the season to partake in a couple of friendlies.

Eyebrows were raised when the timing of the exhibition matches was revealed with it being literally days after the Premier League season closes. So close in fact, that they take place before the FA Cup final.

All sorts of questions have been raised, but a big one is whether it's such a good idea to drag our top players halfway around the world to play in friendlies with the European Championships still to play in the summer.

That's one that will be answered closer to the time as the travelling squads are announced. Big players expected to be representing their country in the Euros will likely be left behind in order to get a bit of rest before the tournament starts.

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Football for Future
Football for Future have condemned the decision by Newcastle and Tottenham

Climate activists have slammed the decision by Newcastle and Tottenham

A bigger issue that has come to light has come from climate activists who believe that Newcastle and Tottenham are setting the "wrong example" by jetting off to the other side of the globe for a couple of meaningless games.

A report in iNews says that Football for Future, a group of climate experts and sustainability leaders have questioned the decision by the clubs to play these games.

“The announced friendlies between Spurs and Newcastle in Melbourne, and Arsenal Women against A-League All-Stars, underscore the growing fixture strain and its environmental toll.

“Football is a global game and modern clubs are global brands. Whether it’s exhibition matches or World Cups – travel is inevitable. But we can’t ignore the consequences, be it relevant carbon emissions, or the message it sends to fans.”

Do we have to sell our souls to be successful?

It's hard to deny that Football for Future has a point here especially when you consider, as pointed out in the iNews report, "the greenhouse gas emissions of a single passenger travelling from London Heathrow to Melbourne International and back again is more than 4.2 billion people in the world would emit in an entire year."

That's a staggering statistic and you have to wonder if it's worth it for the sake of what is nothing more than a PR exercise. The only real reason these games are happening is money - a way for the clubs to generate interest in another country so they can gain a bigger following and sell a few more replica shirts.

It's a sad indictment of the times that clubs feel they must do this to stay within touching distance of the top clubs. As fans, we want to see our club grow and garner a worldwide following akin to that of Manchester United or Barcelona, and we accept there are necessary evils that go along with that, but is this one a step too far?