Ferns striker Katie Rood: ‘I see the climate crisis killing my sport’

Football Fern Katie Rood has urged England’s top women’s competitions to cut ties with major sponsor Barclays.

“As a professional footballer, I see the climate crisis killing my sport and believe we have a duty to act accordingly,” she has written in a blog for leading UK newspaper The Guardian.

Rood (31) has made 15 full international appearances for New Zealand but has been sidelined since April 2023 when she suffered an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury that ended her stint with Scottish club Hearts.

She still hopes to regain fitness and earn a recall to the Ferns.

Her Guardian blog says worries about the climate and environmental crisis have become increasingly hard to ignore.

“This has been made even harder by the fact that the climate crisis is killing my sport, and one of the companies most responsible is plastering its name all over football in England to distract from what it is doing,” she writes.

Rood says her goal was always to use football to experience the world “but it turns out the world I’ve been experiencing isn’t what I thought it would be.

“For this reason, I am using my career to fight for the defining issue of our generation: tackling climate change.

‘Call me a hypocrite if you like — I would accept another call-up from New Zealand with all the travel involved — but nobody is perfect, and that charge won’t stop me from using my platform to encourage positive change.”

Barclays are the main sponsor of the Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship in England.

However, the Rainforest Action Network’s banking on climate chaos report identifies Barclays as the biggest European funder of fossil fuels between 2016 and 2022.

Katie Rood … in 2022 she kicked off The Ball, a year-long project to raise awareness of global issues, including climate change.

Rood says Barclays investment in football sponsorship is “a cynical attempt to sportswash its image and use women’s football as a distraction from the devastation it inflicts.”

“Any positive impact it has had in advancing women’s football is fundamentally undermined by the impact it is having on our planet.”

Barclays responded to The Guardian, saying it had supported the men’s English Premier League for more than 23 years and the WSL since it turned professional in 2019.

The company says it has supported more than 2,900 community sports groups to make football more accessible through its Barclays Community Football Fund.

“To reach net zero, investment is needed to support current and future global energy demand, including oil and gas, as renewable energy is scaled up,” Barclays said.

“Barclays is supporting energy companies transition with a $1tn target of financing, whilst investing £500m in the climate tech necessary for decarbonisation.

“As the number two clean energy adviser globally, we are playing a significant role towards financing real world decarbonisation.”

In the year leading to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Rood was a prominent supporter of Spirit of Football’s The Ball project.

Supporters of the The Ball project kicked, passed and headed a ball from London to Auckland, using the journey to promote global issues including climate change, gender equality and fairness.

Click here for more about The Ball project >>>>

Read Katie Rood’s blog in full

READ MORE: “If women’s football cares about the climate crisis it must cut ties with Barclays” >>>>

Katie Rood … helped Southampton win promotion.

Katie Rood’s football journey

Rood first played in the United Kingdom in 2012 when she joined Lincoln Ladies in the FA WSL as a teenager, having played seven seasons at Auckland’s Glenfield Rovers.

She made her full New Zealand international debut in 2017, and signed for Italian club Juventus the same year.

A move to Bristol City followed, and then a loan spell at Lewes which became a full move in. 2019.

Rood helped Southampton win promotion to England’s second-tier Championship before moving north to Hearts in 2022.

READ MORE: Our previous stories about Katie Rood >>>>

About ACL injuries

Friends of Football writer Joan Grey has researched the issue of ACL injuries among women players in a two-part special feature:

READ MORE: Special feature: Solving the female football cruciate curse mystery (part 1) >>>>

READ MORE: Special feature: How players can reduce the risk of an ACL injury (part 2) >>>>

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