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FIFA claims of carbon-free World Cup termed misleading

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By Martin Graham | 21st Jun 2022

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar has been projected to be one of the few sporting tournaments to rely very much on science and technology. The eight stadiums billed to host the mundial are not so distant from one another, and as a matter of fact the total distance of all the stadiums from each other is motorable.

Also, lots of plaudits have come the way of the organisers for this incredible feat as this will be one of the few tournaments in recent times to enable such close proximity and remove the pains of air travel. It will interest you to know that all the stadiums will be able to fit into London due to the short distances between them.

FIFA’s claims of the World Cup being carbon-free, however, have been termed misleading.

One of the reasons for the awarding of the event to Qatar was the promise of an environmentally friendly tournament. The stadiums were said to be within motorable distances from one another, which would help to reduce the carbon footprint of the tournament. This is despite the well-documented environmental and societal issues of the gulf nation.

It was also one of the reasons why many got on board with the idea of Qatar hosting the tournament. Fears of fans were allayed, most especially of football tourists from all around the world who have always complained of the long distances they had to travel to watch World Cup games in past editions.

At the 2018 World Cup in Russia. footballers and fans had to travel over 1,000 miles between Saint-Petersburg and Krasnodar to play and watch matches respectively. This led to an increase in the volume of carbon dioxide, CFCs and other harmful gases released to the atmosphere from buses and airplanes.

However, the Qatar 2022 organisers did their homework and have ensured that the largest distance between two stadiums is 35 miles and electric buses and trains have been installed to reduce the volume of carbon produced to the barest minimum.

Also, even with the laudable fact that the smallest distance between two stadiums is just under 5 miles, the organisers have also let teams choose a base and remain there for their duration in the tournament till the knockout phases. All of these in a bid to change the narrative and reduce the production of carbon in the environment.

Though all of these are currently in place in Qatar, recent reports show that the World Cup might not be as carbon-free as promised. However, this is just speculation and so far, the country has not given us room to doubt their initial statements.

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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