UEFA holistic approach to sustainability


Vincent Reulet at Coliseum Europe 2023 Image: Coliseum GSVA

In a world sitting on the global warming bomb, sustainability is an issue which pushes all the hot buttons. Almost all organizations today are driven by sustainability objectives and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) is the cornerstone.

Vincent Reulet, an ace on environmental matters, is working with the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) as an Environment Expert within the Football Social and Responsibility division.

In an interaction with ‘Coliseum’, Vincent Reulet, Environment Expert, UEFA, Switzerland, provide an insight on why the UEFA deemed it necessary to launch its Sustainable Infrastructure Guidelines – a working document which is a kind of encyclopedia on issues related to sustainable infrastructure pertaining to the football world and other sustainability topics.


Nyon (Switzerland)-based the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) is one of six continental bodies of governance in association football. It governs football, futsal and beach football in Europe and the transcontinental countries of Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russia, and Kazakhstan, as well as some Asian countries such as Israel, Cyprus and Armenia. The UEFA consists of 55 national association members. Because of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, the FIFA and UEFA suspended all Russian national teams and clubs from any FIFA and UEFA competitions.

Why Sustainable Infrastructure Guidelines?

Vincent Reulet began by explaining that the UEFA deciding to develop these guidelines “was not just a random idea”.

He elaborated, “The UEFA is organizing football events for the European competitions both for clubs and for 55 national associations from 3,250 stadia. When the UEFA decided to come out with a document to ensure that the venues meet all the UEFA criteria and took the pulse of the national associations in this regard, there was a huge demand for sustainability being the main hallmark.”

Inspire, Activate and Accelerate

Driven largely by industrialization and population growth, today things have come to such a pass that carbon emissions globally are at an all-time high which is slowly proving to be catastrophic. For almost every organization/institution, meeting net zero and ESG objectives have become paramount. The UEFA too is guided by the Net Zero goals.

As Reulet put in, “European football must come together to Inspire, Activate and Accelerate sustainable action as One Team using a common language and a long-term vision. The UEFA has developed a Football Sustainability Strategy 2030 with 11 policies addressing human rights and the environment. The Sustainability Strategy Guidelines of UEFA will be a kind of handbook for the leagues and clubs to formulate their own sustainability strategies.”

Net Zero

Carbon neutrality is a state of net zero carbon dioxide emissions. This can be achieved by reducing emissions, most of which come from the burning of fossil fuels, and by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG)

Environmental, social, and corporate governance, also known as environmental, social, governance (ESG), is an approach to investing that recommends taking environmental issues, social issues and governance issues into account when deciding which companies to invest in.

Talking on ESG, Reulet provided, “The football infrastructure of the future will increasingly go through innovation and the UEFA wishes to support the football stakeholders all across Europe and then embed those environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practises at every stage of the football infrastructure starting from the concept to design, the construction and the management.”

He added that in UEFA’s sustainability mission, “The 55 National Associations are the main actors and, of course, the clubs, the Infrastructure Managers, the local authorities, the stadium operators as well as the architects too play a pivotal role.”

He further informed that architects, venue operators, engineers, and academics helped the UEFA in bringing out the Sustainable Infrastructure Guidelines – “Health safety is the topmost criteria when we assess venues. The idea was to develop something that was replete with information but easy to navigate for which the document is a working document and there is no printed version of the same. The UEFA Guideline is not designed to be a bedside story but it is a repository of information on sustainability issues – be it on water or energy efficiency – with relevant case studies.”


Reulet concluded by stating that the UEFA is looking at sharing every bit of information contained in the guidelines with the venue operators, the facilities managers, the 55 national associations under UEFA, and the local authorities so that the above bodies benefit from the same and can meet their respective infrastructure sustainability objectives and every other ‘Green’ goals – the very purpose for which the top governing body of European football has come out with its ‘Green’ treasure trove – ‘Sustainable Infrastructure Guidelines’.

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