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UEFA’s environmental strategy meets the challenges
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UEFA’s environmental strategy meets the challenges

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 from Angel Gomes, Lille OSC, Wolfsburg, Germany, Wednesday December 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)


UEFA, part of a human rights strategy that focuses on the environment and human rights, set itself the goal of eliminating racism in European soccer by 2030. This was part of 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 from a project that it claimed placed human rights 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 stated that while we want to direct our actions, we don’t want others to do so. Uva also said that UEFA had spoken to Fare and other organizations and was close at a new agreement.

On the day UEFA confirmed plans to add 10 South American teams to its second-tier European competition, in 2024, the commitment to halving greenhouse gas emissions was highlighted. This will increase intercontinental travel.

UEFA stated that it was working with CONMEBOL (South American soccer body), on a variety of projects, including a joint Nations League. However, no decisions have been 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 of additional club games were created by the Europa Conference League’s launch and the agreement to expand the Champions League/Euro League with more teams starting in 2024.

Uva said that we know that any changes in (competition formats) can have an impact on what we plan, and that it is important to look at the entire picture of the soccer industry as well as the tourism economy.

The former member of UEFA executive committee stated that if we only talk about gas emissions, then we are monitoring them and will do something to reduce their 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 will be held in Budapest at the same venue in 2023. The Sport & Rights Alliance highlighted issues in press freedom and journalists protection in Hungary, Turkey, and Russia, which host 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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