Elite football believes it can escape the rigors of the global socio-economic situation. It is often proven to be correct. The match was played through a pandemic blockade, providing a form of escapism.
Despite the financial crisis of 2008 and 2020, the game’s wealthiest clubs continued to invest huge amounts of money in signing players. But there is one inevitable catastrophe. That is, a climate emergency must change the way we all work. Soccer cannot and must not avoid its responsibilities.
Experts argue that highly polluted countries, including most of the First World, need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 90% within 10 years to avoid rising temperatures and extreme weather events. If it is estimated that about 7,700 tonnes of CO2 emissions are generated each weekend in top flight football, how do you square it in football? With 650,000 fans attending the average Premier League match day and 70% of its emissions coming in and out of the game, we don’t warn of answers that would change our deep-seated behavioral patterns. Is an impossible problem to deal with.
And that is without covering the indirect effects of the rapid commercialization of football. Major sponsors of Fifa, Uefa, and the game’s largest clubs include several airlines, natural gas suppliers, tire and fuel manufacturers, and global conglomerates. How can the game hope to protect the planet, relying on organizations struggling to convince them that they can be in harmony with the carbon-neutral planet?
But we have to try, and we have to praise those who are trying. At the Bundesliga Club 1. FSV Mainz 05, Christina Mayer leads the club’s mission to prepare for climate change. One of corporate social responsibilities, her role is to identify and incite changes in behavior and business practices that can reduce Mainz’s carbon dioxide emissions to zero.
In 2010, Mainz became the first top-class club to achieve climate neutrality. They switched the stadium’s energy source to green power and upgraded the ventilation system to an energy-efficient one. In 2011, when the construction of the club’s new stadium was completed, they declared its efficiency.
“Mainz has long supported awareness of sustainability in all aspects of the economy, society and the environment,” says Mayer. Me.. “11 years ago, climate neutral wasn’t as popular as it is today. We achieved climate neutral in early 2010, but that was just the beginning of many steps towards zero carbon. Still today. But reducing carbon dioxide emissions is our main job. It wasn’t that important to be the first, but it was important to set the tone for others to follow. . “
Given the statistics on carbon dioxide emissions of the supporters participating in the game, which far exceeds the environmental costs of the stadium and the club itself, Mayer describes many of the supporter travel plans introduced by the club. Travel by public transport is included in the Matchday ticket price and you can use the cycle hub to encourage your bike trip to the stadium. The club’s merchandising is manufactured using sustainable products wherever possible, and the club runs courses for students on climate change awareness and solutions. Since the start of last season, Mainz 05 has also calculated the carbon costs of visiting teams and supporters and offset them with the “CO2 Balance Sheet”. According to these calculations, donations will be made to climate charities and initiatives.
They are not the only ones in the Bundesliga. German football leads other European leagues in climate change initiatives. Weser Stadion in Werder Bremen is one of the largest solar panel banks in the world, producing enough energy to power 300 households annually. TSG Hoffenheim includes a voluntary donation of € 1 per ticket to raise funds to build forests in Uganda. In 2019, VFL Wolfsburg became the first major European club to enroll in the United Nations Climate Change Framework for Zero Net Emissions. (The cynic may point out that Wolfsburg is owned by Volkswagen, which caused its own emissions scandal in 2015.)
Elsewhere, inaction is finally changing. Last month, the CU26 initiative was launched in the United Kingdom with the goal of facilitating small changes in behavior throughout the game to play a role in climate emergencies.Its founder, Tom Gribbin, said Me About the relative downturn in football to raise awareness of the great potential disasters of our time.
This is what football historian and writer David Goldblatt agrees with. Goldblatt published a study that provided evidence that 23 of the UK’s 92 league stadiums would be hit by catastrophic floods each year by 2050, unless immediate action is taken. “Sports may be big enough to be registered as a small nation-state in terms of carbon emissions,” he says. “But the effort of its own is only a small percentage point for the entire world.”
Still, on a global scale, it’s hard to have the belief that football really believes it’s committing itself and refuses to admit a major change in its behavior. Over the last 12 months, we’ve heard about the grand plans for the European Super League, the Extended Champions League and the biennial World Cup. Major international tournaments such as the European Championship, Gold Cup, Africa Cup of Nations and AFC Asian Cup are all expanding for recent or future editions. More teams means more games, more supporters, and more travel. It is often done domestically, so it has the highest carbon dioxide emissions.
“As you can see in these examples, there is a clear contradiction between economic and environmental objectives,” says Mayer. “What we can do at the club level is to act in the most sustainable way possible and try to change the framework of the game itself. Many clubs are committed to sustainability. Other clubs It’s quite normal for some clubs and organizations to lag behind and organizations, but general development will guide us in the right direction. “
It’s a good and, of course, peaceful stance, but it’s hard not to be confident and not completely depressed in the general direction. At the micro level, Mainz is one of many campaigns for a sustainable future. But their voice is drowning in the fierce desire of football and the continued pursuit of expansion in search of greater income. Until the model is challenged and defeated, Mayer’s club and others place bandages on the crevice wounds.