UEFA put its best Green foot forward


UEFA launches sustainability infrastructure guidelines Image: UEFA

The Union of European Football Association (UEFA’s) Sustainable Infrastructure Guidelines, unveiled on November 16th at a special event in Mainz (Germany), aim to raise the bar for European football venues.

‘UEFA.com’ stated that UEFA launched its new Sustainable Infrastructure Guidelines at a dedicated event held at the MEWA Arena in Mainz, Germany on November 16th. The event featured panel discussions and experts’ presentations on sustainable football venues and facilities, encouraging knowledge transfer and sharing of best practices.

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 soccer in Europe and the Eurasian transcontinental countries of Russia, Turkey, Cyprus, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, and Kazakhstan.

The MEWA Arena is a multipurpose stadium in Mainz, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, that opened in July 2011. It is used for football matches, and hosts the home matches of the German Bundesliga side Mainz 05. The stadium has a capacity of 34,034.

‘UEFA.com’ further stated that the document, which features forewords by UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin and the European Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans, introduces the concept of infrastructure sustainability, structured around the topics of Environment Social and Governance (ESG). The guidelines cover key subjects such as purpose, location, design, conception and construction, pitch and landscaping. In addition, they provide insights into the infrastructure management phase, addressing for instance the use of embedded technology in stadium infrastructure and pitch quality, the management of event-related waste, and health and safety matters.

The European Commission is the executive of the European Union. It operates as a Cabinet Government, with 27 members of the Commission headed by a President. It includes an administrative body of about 32,000 European civil servants.

Infrastructure Sustainability is one of the eleven policies currently being deployed as part of UEFA’s Football Sustainability Strategy 2030 – ‘Strength through Unity’. The policy’s ambition is to continue to raise the bar for European football infrastructure by setting criteria and sharing best practices for a new generation of sustainable football venues.

Averred Aleksander Čeferin, UEFA President, “The best preparation for tomorrow is doing our best today. These guidelines offer many innovative solutions and principles, whether you are planning to build new facilities or refurbish existing ones. If football comes together and bundles its power to drive sustainable change, it will have a powerful and long-lasting positive impact.”

Observed Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President, European Commission, “The solutions showcased in these Sustainability Guidelines for Football Infrastructure are real game changers. Whether it’s construction, transport, waste or energy, it’s clear that smart design and operation of football stadia and sports facilities can make them true champions of climate action.”

Embedding ESG Practices in the Football Infrastructure Lifecycle

Endorsed by the European Commission, the guidelines will help national associations, leagues, clubs, stadium and infrastructure managers, local authorities, and other football stakeholders to embed ESG practices and generate value across the three stages of the football infrastructure lifecycle by 2030:

Maintained Michele Uva, Football and Social Responsibility Director, “Today we kick off a wide-ranging effort to advocate for infrastructure sustainability across the European football ecosystem, including through translations across all UEFA languages and dedicated sessions with subject-matter experts on environmental, social and governance criteria in the area of football infrastructure.”

Added Mark Fenwick, Partner Fenwick Iribarren Architects, “The football infrastructure of the future will increasingly link engineering, innovation and sustainability criteria. The guidelines showcase how this mix will provide long-term benefits to operators and strengthen the legacy of common spaces for local communities.”

The guidelines were developed with the support of experts externally (architects, clubs, national associations, operators, academics) and internally at UEFA (football and social responsibility division, football operations, national associations, and the European Union [EU] office).

The document is designed to be an online working tool and will be updated on a regular basis (including its numerous case studies) with the latest trends around technology, legislation and stakeholder expectations.

A Continuous Support to National Associations and Clubs

The UEFA will support national associations and clubs’ sustainability officers in the guidelines’ implementation through dedicated workshops and monitoring of the various activities. Numerous case studies and best practices are included in the guidelines and will be updated regularly, based on technological advancement, legislation, expectations from the civil society and ever-evolving UEFA requirements.

Road to a Sustainable UEFA EURO 2024

The meeting in Mainz was rounded off by looking ahead to UEFA EURO 2024, to be held in Germany. The ambition is for this event to be the most sustainable EURO ever and a driving force for sustainable development in German and European football.

The 2024 UEFA European Football Championship, commonly referred to as UEFA EURO 2024 or simply EURO 2024, will be the 17th edition of the UEFA European Championship, the quadrennial international men’s football championship of Europe organized by the UEFA. It will be held in Germany from June 14th to July 14th, 2024.

The tournament is integrating sustainability dimensions in its tournament requirements and regulations, as well as in the match schedule, and will promote concrete and tangible actions in favor of the environment, social impact and good governance. At the same time, the event’s 10 designated Host Cities will rely entirely on existing stadiums and facilities to stage their allocated matches.

Speakers in Mainz included:

  • Michele Uva, Director, Football Social Responsibility, UEFA.
  • Andreas Mex Schär, Managing Director, EURO 2024 GmbH.
  • Mark Fenwick, CEO, Fenwick Iribarren Architects.
  • Sander van Stiphout, Director, Johan Cruijff ArenA Innovation.
  • Stephan Bandholz, Stadium Manager, 1. FSV Mainz 05 e. V.
  • Juergen Muth, Executive Director, Allianz Arena München Stadion GmbH.
  • Dr. Nina Malaviya, Project Lead EURO 2024 Fan Zone HC Frankfurt, Tourismus+Congress GmbH.

Visit the UEFA Sustainability website to learn more about football’s role in creating a more sustainable future.

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