UEFA has asked teams who will compete in next summer’s men’s European Championship in Germany to avoid flying between matches.

The last Euros were held across 11 European countries, with some teams having to travel over 6000 miles during the group stages alone.

However, UEFA now says it wants the tournament to be “the most sustainable European Championship of all time”.

As part of this, group-stage matches have been regionalised to encourage land travel, with games taking place in clusters in Germany’s north, west, and south. Fans will also be offered discounts on long-distance train journeys.



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“This is our chance to lead by example by delivering the tournament to the highest sustainability standards,” said UEFA director for social and environmental sustainability Michele Uva.

The identity of teams competing will not be finalised until the play-offs on March 26 next year, though the majority will qualify through their groups, which are scheduled to finish this November.

UEFA is also encouraging fans to be more carbon conscious at the Euros and has, in conjunction with German authorities, arranged for spectators with a match ticket to be able to use local public transport for 36 hours on a game day from 6am until 6pm the following day.

“This is great leadership by UEFA and the German organisers,” Frank Huisingh, founder of Fossil Free Football, told The Athletic. “Emissions from travel are usually the biggest source of emissions from sporting events, so this is very important.

“One question I have is whether UEFA is also going to look into their sponsorship deals. The Champions League is still sponsored by an airline. It’s inconsistent to try to limit air travel for one tournament and advertise it around another tournament.”

Last winter’s men’s World Cup in Qatar received attention for a pre-tournament statement that the competition would be carbon-neutral. Last month, the Swiss advertising regulator ruled this claim was “false and misleading”.

On Sunday, ahead of the upcoming Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, The Athletic investigated what lessons FIFA had learned from their sustainability goals in Qatar.



After broken promise in Qatar, what are the green credentials of the 2023 Women’s World Cup?

(Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

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