Lewes FC Women (Lewes LFC), which plays football in the Barclays Women’s Championship against teams like Sunderland, Birmingham City, and Crystal Palace, is taking part in Veganuary with a completely plant-based matchday against Durham this weekend.
Lewes LFC was founded in 2002 and is affiliated with the men’s Lewes FC. The club helped pioneer 100 percent fan and community ownership. Between 2002 and 2012, the team rapidly climbed the football pyramid and won promotion to the fourth-tier FA Women’s Premier League in 2012 thanks to an unbeaten season.
Lewes made history in 2017 when it announced it would pay its men’s and women’s teams equally, after launching its Equality FC initiative. Lewes LFC now play in the second-highest tier of women’s football, and so far its highest finish was fifth place in the Barclays Women’s Championship.
Vegan matchday experience
The Lewes Women’s football team has announced that its game against Durham on Sunday, January 21, will be completely plant-based. The vegan menu includes options such as vegan loaded fries, steakless pies, and vegan meatballs. Some of the more unique offerings are seaweed on chips, and creamy vegan chicken pie. The match will be sponsored by plant-based dog food company Omni, and canine attendees will also be catered for. For the rest of January, in tandem with Veganuary, the menu at the club will be 50 percent plant based.
As part of Lewes FC’s sustainability and community initiatives, men’s team midfielder Bradley Pritchard started a pitchside community garden. The yields of the garden provides food for the local community, and are used at free vegan cooking classes at the ground. Some of the food ingredients are contributing to the vegan food options that make up half of the club’s matchday menu.
Another win for vegans in Lewes and its surrounding areas is that the upcoming match against Durham will offer a special 20 percent discount for vegan fans.
Lewes FC’s Commercial Manager Stef McLoughlin, said in a statement: “Our vegan fans are passionate, full of purpose, and on a mission. It’s great to be able to dedicate our match against Durham to them to show our appreciation. We hope that this initiative brings more vegan fans to the club while also encouraging people to make kinder and more sustainable food choices.”
Jimmy Pierson, Director of ProVeg UK, praised the move from the football club, saying: “What a bold, exciting, and brilliant example of climate leadership this is from Lewes F.C – showing football fans how important our food choices are in the climate crisis.”
Vegan athletes are game changers in sport and beyond
The conversation around the benefits of a vegan diet for sporting and athletic prowess has been gaining traction over the last decade. Elsewhere in British football, Forest Green Rovers became the first football team in the world to go plant-based in 2015. Owned by vegan and green energy entrepreneur Dale Vince, the club’s stadium only serves vegan food.
Argued by many to be the greatest footballer of all time, Lionel Messi reportedly follows a largely plant-based diet during his football seasons. Ex-Arsenal and Real Betis player Hector Bellerin is completely vegan and has been spotted hanging out at London vegan food festival Vegan Nights on numerous occasions.
In tennis, two of the best athletes the sport has ever seen in Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams have followed a similar approach to Messi, following a plant-based diet during training and playing seasons.
Interest in vegan athletic prowess had a huge upturn in 2018 thanks to the release of the documentary The Game Changers, which featured athletes such as record-breaking Formula One sportsman Lewis Hamilton, bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger, Olympic weightlifter Kendrick Farris, and many more.
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