Sunday, 10 June 2012

The Football Carbon Footprint

This week we were thinking about a subject to post on the blog and sports came to our minds.
There is no doubt that sports are, in general, a positive element for society.  Sports practice improves the quality of life of the population, sporting goods industry generates jobs around the world and major sports events literally transform the life of a population of a city or even a country (The legacy of Barcelona Olympic Games is a great example).

But in an era of scarcity of resources, are huge sports events like Olympic Games or FIFA World Cups sustainable?
Since 2005 FIFA is putting efforts into a program called Green Goal to reduce the carbon footprint of football events. The incentive to construct environmentally friendly stadiums is part of this program. Although these efforts, a study of the consulting firm Ernst &Young Terco brought a shocking conclusion that 2010 FIFA World Cup generated a carbon footprint of 2,7M tons of CO2, mainly caused by transportation emissions (international travel: teams, fans, administrators, and support staff all contributed to the 1,856,589 tons).
For the 2014 World Cup that will take place in Brazil, the policy to build “green stadiums” has been taken in practice but, due its location and continental size the transportation remains a huge challenge.


  1. How bad is 2.7M tons of CO2? What is a comparison to say a smokey factory?

  2. It is really bad Kiron. According the IEA ( 2009 (the year previous of the event) South Africa had CO2 emissions derived from oil around 73.9M tons. In comparison with this amount, the CO2 emissions generated in World Cup from transportation (I am assuming that almost all transportation CO2 emissions was generated from oil combustion) represents more than 2% of the whole year of 2009.