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European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency
News article | 9 June 2021

How LIFE is making football more sustainable

LIFE TACKLE has been working with UEFA and national football associations across Europe to improve the environmental management of matches.

How LIFE is making football more sustainable

Many of us are excited about the start of the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship this Friday. But some football matches can generate an environmental impact comparable to that of an average city over the same three-hour period. And hardly any football associations or clubs have a proper environmental strategy in place. 

The European Commission has been working to encourage everyone to reduce their environmental impact. Its European Climate Pact, launched in December last year, invites people, communities and organisations to participate in climate action and build a greener Europe.

The LIFE TACKLE team, meanwhile, has been working with 11 major football stadiums across Europe with more joining all the time.  They regularly visit these venues to calculate the carbon footprint and promote the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

‘We are talking to the people who run big events, the players and the fans. We are looking at everything, from the pitches the players play on, to the food and drinks the fans consume. Our goal is to reduce the environmental impact of big sporting events like the Euros,’ says LIFE TACKLE project coordinator Tiberio Daddi. 

A key project output is a comprehensive set of environmental guidelines for use by participating football stadiums. It contains measures on everything from energy and waste audits, how to treat water, finding green accommodation for fans, reducing food waste, using reusable cups, and even recycling football pitches. Training is also on offer to help relevant staff introduce these measures.

The project team is also working closely with UEFA to help them make the upcoming EURO 2020 matches across Europe more environmentally sustainable. To do this, they have provided guidance on everything from event conception and organisation to staging and closure. 

Fans too have been targeted through a communications campaign to improve their awareness of environmental issues. There have been display panels in stadiums, messages on tickets and even fan videos.  And at matches, ball boys have been wearing LIFE TACKLE vests complete with messaging on the environment and recycling.

But with fans unable to go to matches over the past year or so due to health restrictions, the team had to find a new way of grabbing their attention.

The communication campaign that was originally designed to catch the eye of supporters in stadiums was instead presented digitally around the whole pitch, attracting a large television audience’, says Tiberio. In fact, LIFE TACKLE was seen by viewers at the recent 2022 World Cup qualifying match between Italy and Northern Ireland. The digital campaign was also visible during another World Cup qualifier between Germany and Romania. 

With a limited number of fans permitted to attend the Euros in 11 cities over the next month, here’s to a more sustainable tournament.

Image: LIFE17 GIE/IT/000611 LIFE TACKLE All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.

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