World Cup in six countries at odds with FIFA’s climate strategy, experts say

Experts Warn FIFA’s Decision on 2030 World Cup is Inconsistent with Climate Commitments

October 11, 20XX

FIFA’s recent decision to hold the 2030 World Cup in six countries, involving trans-Atlantic flights for teams and fans, has raised concerns among experts about the tournament’s carbon footprint. This move appears to contradict FIFA’s stated climate commitments.

Last week, FIFA announced that Spain, Portugal, and Morocco would co-host the 2030 World Cup, with Uruguay, Argentina, and Paraguay hosting three matches to celebrate the tournament’s centenary. Following the South American games, the tournament will move to Europe and Africa, resulting in numerous long-haul flights for participants and supporters.

Dr. Madeleine Orr, a sport ecologist and assistant professor at the University of Toronto, warns that the continuous growth of the World Cup leads to a larger environmental impact. She emphasizes that as the event expands, the carbon footprint inevitably increases, posing a tradeoff between economic growth and sustainability. Despite FIFA’s claims of considering the environment, their actions indicate otherwise.

In response to the criticism, FIFA states that they will implement necessary measures to mitigate the environmental consequences of the World Cup. They highlight that 97% of the tournament’s matches will take place in neighboring countries with close geographic proximity and well-developed transport infrastructure.

However, experts have expressed skepticism regarding FIFA’s ability to effectively reduce emissions. Quentin Cuendet, representing the Swiss Climate Alliance and Avocates pour le Climat in a case against FIFA, argues that the majority of emissions in large-scale tournaments originate from flights, which FIFA cannot significantly reduce. Furthermore, he doubts FIFA’s claims of offsetting emissions during the Qatar World Cup, asserting that the offsetting methods lacked effectiveness and positive impact.

Dr. Walker Ross, a lecturer in Sport Management at the University of Edinburgh, adds that trans-Atlantic flights alone contribute 1-1/2 to two tons of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) per person. He questions the environmental impact of teams flying back and forth between continents, suggesting that it appears highly carbon-intensive.

In terms of carbon offsetting, Ross explains that the benefits, such as purchasing or maintaining forests, take a long time to manifest. Meanwhile, the carbon emissions caused by flights are immediate and require immediate attention.

FIFA had previously committed to a 50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and achieving net-zero emissions by 2040. However, the decision to hold the 2030 World Cup in multiple countries may undermine their climate goals.

With environmental concerns becoming increasingly prevalent, FIFA’s choice to expand the World Cup raises questions about the organization’s commitment to sustainability.

Reporting by Aadi Nair and Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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Rohith reports on soccer, tennis, cricket, MotoGP, and many more sports. He previously worked at Sportskeeda and has been a sports journalist for over a decade.


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