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03rd Nov 2021

FIFA agree to new climate change targets – despite biennial World Cup plan

Callum Boyle

But they’re still more than happy to try and send 48 nations around the world every other year

FIFA have agreed to new climate change targets at the COP26 conference in Glasgow, despite pushing plans for a 48-nation biennial World Cup.

As reported by the BBC, the targets were revealed during the conference which includes reaching net zero by 2040 and a 50% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030.

Despite agreeing to commit to new changes, world football’s governing body has already confirmed that the 2026 World Cup will be the first tournament of its kind to feature 48 teams – not 32. The tournament, which will be held across Canada, the United States and Mexico, will therefore see 16 more teams and tens of thousands of extra supporters flying to and across North America.

Aviation is responsible for over 2% of the world’s CO2 emissions, and so increasing the number of flights needed for each tournament isn’t the best way to meet such targets.

This, along with the fact FIFA appears set on pushing through plans to hold World Cups every other year, will raise plenty of questions about how committed they are to addressing the climate crisis.

Despite the obvious holes in their plan to become net zero and help the cause for change, FIFA president Gianni Infantino stressed that they will strive to be better, including at the major tournament.

He said: “Climate change is affecting lives of entire communities.

“Football is not immune to significant changes around the world with grassroots and elite football being affected.

“Our climate strategy lays out our plan to protect our planet and beautiful game by reducing emissions and tackling climate change.”

FIFA’s announcement comes after UEFA also signed up to the agreement.

The European football governing body received criticism for hosting Euro 2020 in 11 separate countries as well as the formation of the new UEFA Conference League which saw an increase in travel across the continent from more clubs.

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