- Presented in partnership with WFS and FIFPRO, the Marcus Rashford Award reaffirms the legacy of the Manchester United striker’s child food poverty campaign
- The award is directed at athletes who have championed programs and actions that have a positive impact on their communities
- Denmark international Sofie Junge Pedersen won the award for her work with Football for Future: a non-profit organisation building an environmentally sustainable culture in football
Denmark international Sofie Junge Pedersen won the inaugural Marcus Rashford Award at the World Football Summit (WFS) for her work with Football for Future: a non-profit organisation building an environmentally sustainable culture in football.
An accolade presented in partnership with WFS and FIFPRO, the Marcus Rashford Award reaffirms the legacy of the Manchester United striker’s child food poverty campaign.
The award is directed at athletes, executives and organisation employees who have championed programs and actions that have a positive impact on their communities and drive positive societal change.
Pedersen, a midfielder at Inter Milan, led 44 Women’s World Cup players to take climate action over the flights to and from Australia and New Zealand for the tournament.
"I'm really honoured to receive this award – and this award is also for Common Goal and Football for Future who helped build this climate campaign, and also all the players who chose to compensate their flight by donating money to climate projects," said Pedersen after receiving the award.
"However, paying compensation must not be an excuse for continuous pollution of our planet. We must continue to work even faster to cut emissions, and we in the football industry must also cut our emissions by, for example, avoiding transportation by flight.
"I believe that with all the money we have in the football industry, we have a responsibility to support those countries most affected by climate change. Our planet and humanity are at risk, including the ability to play football around the world. So, I urge all of us – players, coaches, clubs, football leaders – to look at ourselves and ask: how can I, and how can we, help fight climate change?"
As well as calculating her flight emissions, Pedersen has long campaigned to highlight climate change.
Speaking to FIFPRO last year, Pedersen said: “In 2009, when the United Nations Climate Change Conference was held in Copenhagen, I realised how serious climate change is.
"I think about it many times every day and it influences my behaviour. Do I really need to turn on the light or can I wait? Can I use this amount of water in a smarter way? I know every time I use electricity, every time I drive or fly, it affects other people. Climate change affects everybody, but some people are affected more than others.
"Unfortunately, I can't change everything. I’m not proud of that. I'm flying a lot for games, which is difficult to change. But I'm aware of it and I try to reduce my own footprint.
"My team-mates know I care about climate change. I bring my own tap water to training instead of using new water bottles every day. I try not to eat meat, but vegan-based food.
"When I have an opportunity, I bring climate change to their attention. When someone says: ‘Oh, this is warm, this is too hard’, I reply: ‘This is climate change. This will be the norm in the future’. Team-mates ask me about it a lot and want to learn. I enjoy those talks."