The extent of the Premier League’s addiction to short-haul flights has been revealed with a shocking 81 journeys taken during a two-month period this season.

Mirror Football has been shining a light on the issue by reporting on the 33-minute flight Liverpool took back from Newcastle in February and Manchester United ’s short time in the air following their win over the same opponents at Wembley in the Carabao Cup final.

An investigation revealed that short-haul flights are extremely prevalent right across the Premier League, with clubs often opting for convenience over their sustainability pledges. The unreliability of the UK train network and a desire to reduce travel time for players for performance reasons has resulted in an unsustainable over-use of charter flights.

BBC Sport has now looked into the issue and their research shows that 81 individual flights were taken by Premier League sides during a period which had 100 matches. The period between January 19 and March 19 saw 59 flights taken for Premier league fixtures, as well as 16 for FA Cup games and six for Carabao Cup matches.

The flights ranged from 27 minutes to 77 minutes and included so-called ‘positioning’ flights, whereby often empty charter planes flew to airports in order to pick up teams.

Responding to the findings, the Premier League said it "recognises the need to take action on climate change and is committed to reducing its overall climate impact".

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Their statement added: "Clubs have demonstrated their commitment to positive change in this area and continue to play an important role in raising awareness of the issue among fans, while also working on policies to improve environmental sustainability across their business operations."

Chelsea manager Graham Potter is one of few Premier League bosses to have spoken about the issue. Asked about it in a press conference last week, he said: "I think it's something we increasingly have to look at, because I think it's something we have to do better with. It's my personal opinion. That's not to say it's straightforward because there are factors, but I think it's an area we can improve."

Climate scientists calculated that Liverpool ’s flight back from Newcastle in February was between 25 and 30 times worse for the environment than driving. “Prioritising climate change in decision making is critical if we are to meet climate targets. Sports stars, politicians and other celebrities have a key leadership role to play,” Dr Sally Cairns from the University of Leeds told Mirror Football.

"The use of a private plane is usually one of the most polluting ways to travel, and organisations that are serious about their climate commitments should find other ways of travelling where possible.”

The Premier League recently hired a head of sustainability and is working on an environmental strategy, which will be launched later this year. But they currently do not impose any rules on travel meaning clubs are free to take whatever method of transport they choose to games.

2023-03-23T10:24:31Z dg43tfdfdgfd