Euro Football

What is the cost of Euro 2020 for the planet?

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Last November, a few days after Ireland’s Euro 2020 playoff opponents had been confirmed as Slovakia, a letter was sent to the editor of The Irish Times which read “Sir, Forget the national herd. If we want to reduce our carbon footprint, let’s stop wasting oxygen on the national football team. – Yours, etc,

BRIAN FALTER,
Ballyshannon,
Co Donegal.”

The following day, in response to an article about how to get to Slovakia in March for that playoff, another letter to the editor read “Sir, I completely agree with Brian Falter (Letters, November 21st) about the environmental impact of international football.

“Sadly, judging by the Irish Times article, ‘Slovakia v Ireland: Cheap routes, ticket info and the price of a pint’, our breath is being wasted. Nowhere in this article does it mention the serious carbon footprint from flying.

“Can I suggest The Irish Times might in future call attention to the environmental impact of options when recommending ways of getting to international sporting events?

“I am sure the best fans in the world will be only too delighted to see the climate crisis not having to be decided on penalties for once. Yours, etc,

ULTAN Ó BROIN,
Florence, Italy.”

Given that the remit of this column is to look into consumer issues in the world of sport we decided to take note.

From the very outset Euro 2020 looks like a major carbon footprint problem and much of that impact will come from fans. With 51 matches involving 24 teams being held in 12 cities across Europe, from Dublin in the west to Baku 5,233km away in the east, it’s quite clear that the environmental impact of this tournament, particularly from the perspective of travel, will be very significant and considerably higher than any other European Championship held in just one country.

The idea of hundreds of thousands of fans as well as officials and teams flying around Europe between June 12th and July 12th probably isn’t the greatest image for Uefa in a time when the extent of the worldwide climate crisis is seemingly only getting worse and we wake up each morning to new images of Australia burning.

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