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UEFA meets environmental challenges and human rights
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UEFA meets environmental challenges and human rights

Wolfsburg's keeper Koen Casteels receives the third goal by Lille's Angel Gomes during the Champions League group G soccer match between VfL Wolfsburg and Lille OSC in Wolfsburg, Germany, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Wolfsburg’s goalkeeper Koen Casteels is awarded the third goal by Angel Gomes of Lille during the Champions League group A soccer match between VfL Wolfsburg (Germany) and Lille OSC in Wolfsburg. This was Wednesday, December 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)


UEFA, part of a human rights strategy, set itself the goal of eliminating racism from European soccer by 2030. This was in addition to a controversial launch on Friday.

Other long-term targets include zero incidents of child abuse, embedding the rights principles into all strategic decisions, reaching “net Zero Carbon by 2040 collaboratively across European Football” and eliminating any plastic waste.

It’s a lofty goal, but we are determined to achieve it, Michele Uva from the UEFA sustainability program, said about the main goal regarding racism.

Even before UEFA officially launched its Strength Through Unity document, the challenges were evident.

The Sports & Rights Alliance group disassociated itself from a project it claimed places human rights only as a matter of public relations.

Minky Worden, Human Rights Watch, stated that UEFA’s human rights strategy was not developed through a legitimate consultation process. It also does not comply with any international or European standards.

UEFA’s anti-racism efforts must also repair the relationship with a long-term partner, the Fare network. This network helps identify high-risk gaming and gathers evidence. This season, Fare experts have not been involved in UEFA games.

Uva said that while we want to direct our actions, we don’t want others to do so. Uva also stated that UEFA has spoken with Fare, Fare, and other organizations and is close to a new deal.

The commitment to halving greenhouse gases emissions by 2030 was stressed when UEFA announced plans to add 10 South American team to its second-tier European competition. This will lead to more intercontinental travel.

UEFA claimed it was working on a range of projects with CONMEBOL in South America, including a joint Nations League. However no decisions were made.

This tournament expansion would be the latest for European teams. European teams often fly private charter flights to UEFA organized international games.

This year, hundreds more club games were created through the Europa Conference League. In addition, the Europa League was expanded with more teams in the Champions League and Europa League.

Uva stated, “We know that every change to the (competition format) can have an affect on what we plan,” and emphasized the need to understand the entire picture of the soccer industry as well as the tourism economy.

The former member of UEFA’s executive committee said that if we focus on gas emissions only, we are monitoring the situation and will take steps to reduce the impact.

The UEFA Plan aims to incite, activate, and accelerate collective action across national federations leagues and clubs to respect the environment and human rights within the context European football.

UEFA’s European Championship witnessed repeated incidents of antigay and racist incidents involving Hungary supporters.

The Europa League final is held at the same Budapest stadium in 2023. Sport & Rights Alliance raised concerns about journalists protection and press freedom in Budapest, as well as in Russia and Turkey, which are hosting the next two Champions League finals.

UEFAs 55 member federations place child protection at the top of their priorities. They seek a risk analysis next spring and a safeguarding protocol for 2024.

UEFA wants to make it easier for people with disabilities to participate in its events and play by the rules.

The 60-page document stated that UEFA tournaments and events must have zero food and plastic waste by 2030.


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