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Gloucestershire Business News

Arsenal star Bellerin buys into Forest Green Rovers philosophy

Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin has become the second largest shareholder at League Two football club Forest Green Rovers.

The Spanish star, 25, said he was attracted to the Gloucestershire club because it shares his passion for conservation and raising awareness of environmental.

Rovers are the world's first vegan football club, a philosophy followed by Bellerin who pledged to plant 3,000 trees for every Arsenal victory when football returned after the enforced break due to the coronavirus outbreak.

He told the club website: "I was really excited when I first discovered the opportunity to get involved at Forest Green Rovers - and the brilliant work the club is already doing.

"It's important that I invest in things I am passionate about and I'm excited to help push football into having a sustainable future.

"Forest Green Rovers prove to clubs who say they don't have resources to be sustainable that it is possible."

He continued: "With the new stadium, being carbon neutral and vegan, the club s doing some mind-blowing work.

"People have universal love of football so there's no better industry to promote sustainability and what we can do as football supporters to be more environmentally conscious."

Bellerin, who has won three caps for Spain after starting his career at Barcelona, has been a vegan for three years.

"At first I just wanted to try it to detox my body. Initially I thought I'd eat meat as a treat but being vegan just worked for me," he said.

"After a month of being vegan I felt stronger and I didn't struggle with ankle injuries anymore. I began to feel more energetic on the pitch - and I began to notice a real difference."

This is not his first connection with Rovers, having played for an Arsenal XI at the New Lawn in 2014.

"At that time I wasn't too aware of the path the club was taking and I was just focusing on getting into the first team at Arsenal," he said.

"I have so much respect for everything that Dale Vince is doing with the club - and he's paving the way for everyone else in the sport."

Club chairman Dale Vince, who also owns Stroud-based Ecotricity, said: "I like Hector's approach, his personal journey and the things he's trying to do - they make sense. I'm looking forward to working with him on our projects at Forest Green and this wider agenda we have a shared interest in."

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