four ways to green international sport – Liberation


FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar, a controversial worldcase

Reduce the number of competitions, have men and women play at the same time… Against climate change, sport too must make an effort.

A fixed Olympic site. How to avoid the multiplication of « white elephants », these expensive and numerous infrastructures built especially for major sporting events, but left unused after the competitions, as at the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004 or Rio in 2016? By choosing to organize the Games on a fixed site. The Greek capital, cradle of Olympism, is an ideal candidate.

The World Cup every two years, no! It’s a paradox inherent in professional sport: it’s hard to be green if the agendas are constantly overloaded. In this context, the idea of ​​a World Cup every two years advocated by Fifa seems anachronistic. On the tennis side, the ATP and the WTA could plan fewer dates over a season. Without overshadowing these exhibition tournaments, which no longer have to be. The Laver Cup, where Roger Federer will appear for the last time, is it really necessary? But basically, reconciling energy sobriety and planetary sporting events looks like an impossible mission. It is estimated that two thirds of the carbon footprint of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa was linked to international transport. Sport and its great globalized routs, a practice to be eliminated in the 21st century?

Synchronize women’s and men’s competitions. In many sports – tennis, fencing, certain combat sports – the women’s stages do not take place on the same sites as for the men. Let’s take alpine skiing: during the 2021-2022 season, when the downhillers scrapped in Bormio (Italy), the slalomers stopped in Lienz (Austria). Shouldn’t we rethink the calendars upstream, so that the events take place on one and the same station? Even if it means having to sacrifice several localities, which would host the competitions the following year, in compensation.

Tighten the IOC’s specifications. In 2014, the International Olympic Committee undertook to promote a more sustainable sport of tomorrow, by adopting specifications called « Agenda 2020 »: a grid with criteria that organizers must respect for international events in phase with the ecological transition. Shouldn’t the powerful body of Olympic sport strengthen this charter in the future? And more generally, that all the bodies and federations finally have a real guide for green sport?

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