Euro 2024 teams could cut emissions by nearly 60% if they avoid flying

Europe’s national football teams competing in the Euro 2024 championships this summer could cut their travel emissions by nearly 60% if they avoided flying, a new report says.

An analysis by Travel Smart and the NGO Transport & Environment (T&E) says national teams have yet to take the required action to reduce the CO2 impact of their travel.

Erin Vera, Travel Smart campaigner, said: “UEFA and the hosts Germany have put a lot of effort into cutting transport emissions around the tournament, making it the greenest championships ever.

“This shows what can be done. Disappointingly, the national teams are so far failing to lead by example. If teams chose to avoid taking the plane for journeys that could reasonably be taken by train or coach, they can drastically slash their emissions.”

After coming under criticism four years ago for hosting the Euros in multiple different countries, UEFA has sought to cluster group-stage matches to reduce the amount of travelling done by fans for the Euro 2024 tournament in Germany.

The Deutsche Bahn, Germany’s national railway company, is offering fans with a ticket reduced travel prices to get around the country.

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It has never been easier to travel to a major sporting event by train, says T&E.

But the research says the teams have not yet clearly committed to reducing their transport emissions.

Last month, T&E along with climate groups across Europe, called on national teams to commit to travelling more sustainably by avoiding flying where possible.

Germany and Switzerland are the only national teams to commit to not flying during the group phase. In doing so, Germany will save up to 98% of CO2e.

Over the month-long competition, elite footballers like Harry Kane and Kylian Mbappe will pollute seven to nine times more through their transport emissions alone than the average person emits over a whole month, the analysis shows. 

Earlier this year, it was revealed the Football Association has donated bibs and drawstring bags recycled from the 2022 FA Cup final pitch cover to youth football clubs across the UK.

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