Soccer and the Environmental Word

by Juan Gil on February 21, 2014

Large, well-known organizations around the world have slowly started to take part in helping with public health problems as well as environmental issues. Sports organizations are a great way to spread the word of problems occurring worldwide because their enormous followings allow their messages to be heard, read, and seen by millions of people worldwide.

Greenpeace, an international organization that focuses on worldwide issues such as global-warming and deforestation recently made headlines in Europe. During a UEFA (European soccer governing body) Champions League soccer match in Basel, Switzerland, protestors unveiled a large banner from the top of the stadium that stated Greenpeace’s stance against oil drilling in the Arctic. This led to the host team, FC Basel, receiving punishment from UEFA because they were unable to prevent the display. Although the punishment to the team seems unjust, Greenpeace was able to spread their word to a worldwide audience.

Other organizations have been able to spread the word and help in less controversial fashions. FC Barcelona has partnered with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) over the years to both donate to specific programs as well as to help provide exposure. Until the 2011 season, FC Barcelona had the UNICEF logo printed on the front of its jersey. FC Barcelona recently renewed their contract with UNICEF to donate 1.5 million euros annually to specific programs within UNICEF. These projects are focused on the promotion of sport and education among children that are in vulnerable areas. In 2012 and 2013 they attempted to use sport as a way to encourage the education of young children in China, Brazil, South Africa, and Ghana. Due to the joint efforts of these two organizations the lives of over 200,000 children worldwide have been influenced. Because FC Barcelona is one of the most popular soccer teams in the world, this joint project provides great exposure for UNICEF to continue to gain recognition and financial backing so it may continue providing support for countries in need.

FIFA, the world governing body for soccer, is also trying to take steps to be environmentally sound. In recent years they have tried to implement programs within the countries hosting the World Cup to help with recycling resources. In Brazil, they are attempting to build one of the stadiums to harvest rain and use solar energy. This serves as a great way to make FIFA look good as an organization, create exposure for sustainability, and to help the environment in Brazil. Unfortunately, everything is not going according to plan in Brazil’s World Cup preparations, so it is not certain that they are going to be able to include every environmentally sound feature that they originally planned. However, they are still using recycled building materials in their projects.

These are some examples of how large organizations in the soccer world are bringing environmentally sound practices to the world stage. FIFA is using environmentally friendly practices to help the environment in the locations of their internationally famous World Cups, FC Barcelona gives UNICEF an incredible amount of exposure, and FC Basel unfortunately was the scapegoat for Greenpeace. Sporting organizations that have the means to provide exposure to these companies should do so in order for more people worldwide to know about how they may help make the world a better, healthier, self-sustainable place.

References
Basel face UEFA action after Greenpeace protest. (n.d.). ESPNFC. Retrieved February 7, 2014, from http://espnfc.com/news/story/_/id/1571169/fc-basel-face-uefa-action-greenpeace-protest-gazprom

FC Barcelona to extend alliance with Unicef until 2016 | FC Barcelona. (n.d.). Retrieved February 7, 2014, from http://www.fcbarcelona.com/club/detail/article/fc-barcelona-to-extend-alliance-with-unicef-until-2016

Lacey, S. (n.d.). Three Key Global Environmental Stories to Watch in 2014. TakePart. Retrieved February 7, 2014, from http://www.takepart.com/article/2014/01/14/three-key-global-environmental-stories-watch-2014


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