Fainting, injuries and flooded stadiums .. How does global warming affect the future of sport?

Of all your possible objections to Euro 2020, or rather 2021, we do not think the tons of carbon emitted by fan planes were from him. According to official UEFA estimates, the movement of fans between 11 cities, from Azerbaijan in the east to England in the west, has generated 405,000 tons of carbon emissions. To measure, this is approximately 40 times the weight of the Eiffel Tower. (1) (2)

golden balls

Had Platini thought of committing the biggest possible crime against the environment when he announced the tournament system in 2012, he would not have come up with a worse idea than forcing thousands of fans to travel thousands of miles to 11 countries just for him celebrating the 60th anniversary of the tournament. . (3)

In November 2019, more than a year before the start of the tournament, UEFA decided to offset carbon emissions by announcing an environmental investment project – so to speak – in partnership with South Pole Corporation, an environmental consultancy, to cultivate around 600,000 trees in across the old continent, perhaps as an apology to future generations for the damage the tour has done to the environment for no apparent reason. (1)

It’s a step in the right direction, of course, and it’s a lot better than producing 40 pounds of Eiffel Tower pollution just to celebrate, but, at the same time, it expresses the culture of carelessness that drives football towards the world. issues of this gravity, instead of taking real steps to reduce the pollution caused For fans traveling each year, the solution was to continue to pollute, as widely as possible, and then plant trees. (4)

This is the official culture in football, and if we add to that what happens at the individual level, like players’ private jets, their record-breaking sports cars and the huge amount of plastic waste that stadiums produce. every match, you will discover that football can be one of the most environmentally harmful activities in the world.

A study from the University of Manchester in 2019 estimated emissions from player aircraft that participated in the Golden Ball celebration at 500 tonnes of carbon. According to the study, Roberto Firmino has consumed enough energy for six homes in a year, and in the case of Korean Heung Min Son, Tottenham winger, the amount of energy was enough to charge 6 million phones and the fuel that Neymar burned. was equal to consuming 8 cars for a whole year. (3)

The problems of the first world

SINGAPORE - JULY 20: Players drink water during a water break during the 2019 International Champions Cup match between Manchester United and FC Internazionale at the Singapore National Stadium on July 20, 2019 in Singapore.  (Photo by Pakawich Damrongkiattisak / Getty Images)

The logical question we do not blame you for will be our relationship to all of these, after all, they are all first world problems that Africa or Asia do not suffer at least to the same degree and this idea in particular . – despite its logical reasoning at first glance – is the most dangerous thing in this matter.

In the previous edition of the African Cup of Nations, which was held in the summer in Egypt, which is not a common habit to hold in the winter, Samuel Kalou, the French winger of Bordeaux and the Nigerian team, fainted in training. last of his country’s team before the first match, and according to press reports, the reason was the severe drought. In the same tournament, a heated debate erupted between Moroccan coach Vahid Halilhodzic and the referees in one of his team’s matches over his request for more stops to allow his players to drink water and cool off. Surprise: We live on the same planet. (4) (5)

“All companies that have sports facilities will be affected by climate change, whether stadium, track or training ground. “There will be an increase in the number and intensity of storms and hurricanes, widespread fires, lack of rain in some places, an intolerable abundance in others.” Allen Hershkowitz, New York Yankees Scientific Advisor (6)

There is no evidence that the football authorities are late in realizing this problem, other than the fact that the water cuts set by FIFA at the 2014 World Cup were not based on a preventive study of the weather conditions in Brazil, but in fact were the result of a court ruling that forced FIFA, and you can certainly imagine how bad the case is in stadiums in Africa and Asia, where there is no real reliable data on the number of injuries and fainting caused by rising temperatures, or even the number of stadiums flooded by rising monsoon rains as the planet warms.

Football Football - Premier League - Burnley v Watford - Turf Moor, Burnley, UK - June 25, 2020 Burnley's Josh Brownhill sprays water on Ashley Westwood during a drink break as the game resumes behind closed doors following a coronavirus outbreak (COVID-) ) 19) Michael Steele / Pool ONLY FOR REUTERS EDITOR USE.  No use with audio, video, unauthorized data, match lists, club / league logos or

A quick review of the names of the main official sponsors of the FIFA and UEFA tournaments will tell you about the gravity of the situation; Oil companies, airlines and sparkling water plants produce billions of plastic bottles every month. If we add to the above the fact that all competitions are expanding to include new clubs and teams, up to doubling the number of participants in some cases, such as the Club World Cup (from 7 to 24 teams), the African Cup of Nations . (from 16 to 24 teams), even the placement of tournaments New from nowhere like the European Conference Cup (32 teams), with all these accompanying a huge increase in the number of trips and transfers for fans and teams, will discover that football is not just a rearview mirror, but is living in a difficult state of denial. (7)

This appears in the ABCs handling FIFA for any extensions to these tournaments. For example, when FIFA considered the early expansion of the World Cup from the 2026 edition to the next edition in Qatar, its official report discussed the logistical and financial difficulties of accommodating additional teams and did not address the fact that the addition of 16 teams to the tournament (increase of 50%) would cause an increase in rates.Record pollution as a result of fan movement. In fact, FIFA’s usual calculations for carbon emissions for a tournament do not include emissions from the flight of fans in general. Journalist Tim Walters compares him to someone who does not include fast food in his daily calorie count. (7)

I and after me the flood

In a shocking June 2020 report, renowned academic journalist David Goldblatt explains the dire effects of climate change on sport, according to his calculations with the Rapid Transition Alliance – a group of academics seeking to foster a rapid response to climate change. . By 2050, a quarter of English football fields will be flooded each year, one in three golf courses in England will disappear due to rising sea levels and half of the cities that previously hosted the Winter Olympics will not will be able to wait for them again. (9) (10) (11)

If you think the 2050 threat is far away, then the stadiums of Chelsea, Southampton, Norwich and West Ham suffer from the same threat now, and in 2050, the stadiums of Werder Bremen, Weser Stadium, Bordeaux Stadium and Matmo Atlantic. , will be overcrowded every year, and the number of stadiums suffering from the same phenomenon in the Premier League will be at least 4, along with 4 in the league, 8 in the First League and 7 in the Second League. (7)

AACHEN, GERMANY - JUNE 05: Players drink water during Germany's home test match at Tivoli Stadium on June 5, 2019 in Aachen, Germany.  (Photo by Christof Koepsel / Bongarts / Getty Images)
Some of the research that Goldblatt cited in his report talks about the inability to play football at a temperature of 35 degrees Celsius or higher, such as the memory and ability of players to coordinate the engine between their hands and feet on one side and their eyes . on the other hand are affected.

According to Goldblatt’s calculations, the carbon emissions produced by world football are equivalent to what a small country like Bolivia and Spain produces to the maximum, and even one BBC report believes that man miscalculated after deciding on carbon. emissions from game-related industries, such as sportswear and apparel, sports media and broadcasts, the effects of which are difficult to calculate due to their size. (11)

At the moment, calculating the effect of rising temperatures in the game is a complex process. Some of the research that Goldblatt cited in his report talks about the inability to play football at a temperature of 35 degrees Celsius or higher, such as the memory and ability of players to coordinate the engine between their hands and feet on one side and their eyes . on the other hand affected, as well as mental abilities related to the speed and health of the decision In addition to the obvious physical and muscular damage, such as increasing the degree of muscle tension and stress.

Despite all this, the British academic believes that everything football produces is dimmed by world carbon emissions, but he believes – at the same time – that soft power is the most important and that the adoption of the climate issue will raise it. its priority on the international political agenda on an unprecedented scale, because football with a large capacity of influence that can not be calculated in tons or cubic meters.

The 2020 Champions League final would have produced 10,000 tonnes of carbon emissions – the equivalent of the Eiffel Tower’s weight – if held in public and without the crowd, that figure drops to just 3,000 tonnes. The question here is still the same eternal question in this case; Are we prepared to give up luxury to avoid a future without summer sports and open playgrounds? Is it necessary for fans to travel thousands of miles to support their team in club or national championships? Of course, this question will cease to be a question mark, because the painful alternative would be to hold matches without fans at all.



1- UEFA Report on Environmental Awareness for Euro 2020 – UEFA

2- Who will host Euro 2020? – The Independent

3. Football Cannot Avoid Climate Change Forever – New York Times

4- As the world gets hotter, football has to adapt – Scientific American

5- Nigerian national team player Samuel Kalou has been hospitalized after suffering from severe dehydration – Marca

6- How the climate crisis threatens the future of sports – The climate reality project

7- Climate crisis hits football but it has time to react – The Guardian

8. The football industry needs to wake up to the climate emergency – The Guardian

9. Playing against time – Fast Transit Alliance

10- Blog by David Goldblatt

11- Climate change; Football falls as temperatures rise – BBC

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