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UEFA marks International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies

Governing body highlights football’s role in helping society to address deadly threat of poor air quality.

UEFA via Getty Images

UEFA marked the annual International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies on Thursday by reminding the European football community of its shared responsibility for using football’s influence to help reduce air pollution across the continent.

Globally, the United Nations’ World Health Organization estimates that poor air quality claims over seven million lives annually. There is also growing scientific evidence that air pollution directly impacts footballers’ performances on the pitch, reducing the pace of matches by up to 15 per cent.

Cleaner Air, Better Game

Earlier this summer, UEFA underlined its commitment to tackling air pollution by running a second edition of its Cleaner Air, Better Game campaign at the UEFA Under-21 European Championships in Georgia and Romania. Under the slogan “Air pollution is a threat, to your health and your game”, the campaign invited participating associations to highlight both how poor air quality impacts public health and how society can address the issue.

From the associations to players, fans, volunteers and staff, all stakeholders were encouraged to support environmentally-conscious initiatives organised in the competition’s host cities. These focused on waste management, community clean-up efforts and programmes encouraging sustainable travel to tournament matches.

Cleaner Air, Better Game, which reached an estimated 1.2 million people through UEFA’s digital platforms, was backed by the European Commission (EC) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President of the EC, welcomed the initiative and its potential for inspiring the world of professional football to take action against the climate crisis.

More information about the Cleaner Air, Better Campaign can be found here.

For more details and insights on our work in the field of sustainability, access the UEFA sustainability platform.