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UEFA backs environmental sustainability project

UEFA is supporting a European Commission-funded project looking to enhance the effectiveness of environmental management at football events - and UEFA EURO 2020 will be a focal point in the project.

The Dublin Arena - one of the UEFA EURO 2020 venues
The Dublin Arena - one of the UEFA EURO 2020 venues ©Getty Images

UEFA is supporting a project, funded by the European Commission, which aims to improve the effectiveness of environmental management at football events.

The project, called TACKLE (Teaming Up for A Conscious Kick as a Legacy to our Environment) and which kicked off earlier this month, has the main objective of increasing awareness about environmental sustainability, and to improve the capacity of key stakeholders at football events to be sustainable.

UEFA EURO 2020, to be staged in 12 cities across Europe, will be a focal point for pilot project work and findings.

Four UEFA member associations – Italy, Liechtenstein, Romania and Sweden – are actively involved in the three-year pilot stage of the project, which is being led and coordinated by the Italian-based Institute of Management – Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna.

UEFA will act as a supporting body, and will take part in activities that will eventually aim to disseminate information and share the results of the pilot project among Europe’s national football associations.

The four national associations will be involved in all phases of implementation of the project, and will join UEFA in communicating project results.

They will be part of the discussions with municipalities, especially on how they can improve the management of waste during football matches, and more broadly on how to increase sustainability of the matches. They will also play a crucial role in data collection. 

The impact of football events on the environment is far from neglible. For example, such events can generate considerable amounts of waste. TACKLE’s activities will focus on the entire life cycle of a football event – conception, organisation, staging and closure.

The pilot project envisages the drafting of guidelines that take into account previous experiences in sport-event sustainability. The guidelines will gather and disseminate best practices – including those compiled by UEFA in its sustainability work – to prevent, minimise and/or operationally manage waste and other environmental impacts of football events in the future.

These guidelines will be tested in stadiums at football events, including matches at EURO 2020.

TACKLE will also involve environmental awareness campaigns addressed to all key stakeholders in the life cycle of a football event – ranging from stadium management entities and municipalities to football fans.

As far as national football associations are concerned, the aim in the future will be not only to guide the diffusion of best practices among their domestic football and stadium bodies, but also to set up their own strategies and tools to prevent and manage waste according to circular economy criteria, and improve stadiums’ environmental management.

The associations will also be encouraged to develop and implement effective communication campaigns aimed at increasing awareness about environmental issues among football clubs, football fan clubs, supporters, stadium and sport facilities staff.