The world is facing a very serious challenge, and ignoring it will affect everyone in the long run. Heat domes, atmospheric rivers, wildfires, Antarctic ice melt, and climate change are now inescapable realities. Moreover, while resolving the issues, no one focused on the sports industry, but the sports industry is also a contributor to the problem. However, the FIFA World Cup, the biggest event in the sports world, draws 1.5 billion people from across the world during its men’s edition. Moreover, it is currently hosting the largest-ever women’s edition in Australia and New Zealand. Indeed, FIFA took so many initiatives on the ground to engage in smart biodiversity restoration work, but we cannot ignore the emission of GHG from game-related travel.
FIFA World Cup
Indeed, the World Cup is fostering unity in a globalized and divided world. Furthermore, the World Cup has created beautiful memories in past tournaments, such as Cruyff’s Clockwork Orange, Brandi Chastain’s iconic penalty, and recent showdowns between Messi and M’Bappé, which are cherished by fans worldwide. However, the 2022 Men’s World Cup alone is estimated to have contributed 3.6 million tons of CO2 to the atmosphere, exacerbating the ongoing degradation of ecosystems and living conditions caused by GHG emissions.
Climate change is becoming the main issue in every aspect of life, including business, politics, and football. Moreover, it is an unavoidable and unignorable issue. Also, all indications are showing that this trend will continue to grow. Therefore, there is a need to immediately reassess the environmental impact of mega sports events such as the FIFA World Cup.
The World Cup can only secure its future if it aligns with the new reality of environmental sustainability. Moreover, the World Cup has to undergo significant transformations, like implementing eco-friendly practices for game-related travel, optimizing transportation efficiency, and exploring carbon offset programs, which are crucial steps towards reducing the tournament’s carbon footprint. Furthermore, it should collaborate with sustainability experts and adopt innovative solutions to enhance the event’s environmental credentials.
Moreover, we need to promote environmental awareness and eco-consciousness among players, fans, and the team. Then only we can make a collective effort to reduce the tournament’s ecological impact. Furthermore, there is a need to embrace renewable energy sources, sustainable infrastructure, and responsible waste management practices within host cities. In this way, we can set inspiring examples for future sporting events worldwide.
Elliot Arthur-Worsop states that, indeed, climate change is becoming part of our everyday lives. However, to continue the FIFA World Cup, it must adapt to environmental challenges and demonstrate its commitment to a more sustainable future. Furthermore, the World Cup can preserve its status as a cherished celebration of sport, but it needs to prioritize environmental consideration and actively contribute to the fight against climate change.
Ways to Host an Environmentally Sustainable FIFA World Cup
It is better to find a host who already has the infrastructure to conduct this kind of big tournament. When Qatar was hosting the World Cup. They built seven stadiums and renovated one. However, these kinds of constructions are carbon intensive and harmful for the environment. The emissions due to these constructions remain in the environment for centuries. In contrast, the countries that are hosting the upcoming World Cup, which are the US, Canada, and Mexico, already have infrastructure.
Permanent host countries can also be the best idea to avoid building expensive infrastructure and reduce emissions. Moreover, The International Olympic Committee is looking for a pool of fixed countries to host an event.
Reducing the distance for fans
Reducing the distance between games is also important. However, this way, fans do not have to travel more, and emissions will be low.
Environmental sustainability is the center-stage issue at this time. However, sports are the major contributors because they mobilize a huge crowd, which results in high emissions. Therefore, there is a need to study in depth, consider all the aspects, and come up with more strong ideas.