UEFA has pledged to make the EURO2020 finals an environmentally conscious tournament.

European football's governing body will aim to offset approximately 405,000 tonnes of carbon flight emissions expected to be produced by fans, teams and officials travelling to and from matches by investing in various Gold Standard projects in partnership with South Pole, an organisation committed to helping businesses, governments and communities look after the planet better.

It has also agreed to plant 600,000 trees across the 12 host countries and cities as it seeks to reduce the environmental impact of staging matches all over the continent. The forest project alone is likely to cut the carbon emissions produced by the tournament by more than half. 

"UEFA EURO 2020 is a celebration of European football that will happen right across the continent,” said UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin. “The nature of the tournament means there are many benefits over a traditional one. In addition to being able to take the matches to more diverse communities across Europe, there is no need either to build a host of new stadia or the transport links that they require, which carry a huge environmental impact from, for instance, materials and other resources used for the development of such infrastructure.”

UEFA takes its responsibilities seriously and it is right that we offset the resulting carbon emissions

"But it also has a cost, with increased travel for fans to watch their teams play. Here, UEFA takes its responsibilities seriously and it is right that we offset the resulting carbon emissions. Working with South Pole, we are supporting the activities of Gold Standard carbon reduction projects, which will support local communities and be of lasting value to the planet."

But it is not just in the host cities and communities that people will see the benefits. One such project involves the provision of cookstoves to rural areas in Rwanda, an initiative which helps the environment by significantly reducing the amount of burning wood or charcoal – both of which contain potent greenhouse gases. UEFA will also be supporting green-friendly projects in other less economically developed countries, a move which has been welcomed by South Pole.

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"The role played by the sports industry and sports associations in combating climate change is more urgent than ever," said Natalia Gorina, the organisation's commercial director. “Measuring greenhouse gas emissions, enhancing operations, switching to clean energy, and offsetting unavoidable emissions are steps that all organisations must take to help address climate change.

"We are delighted UEFA is showing a strong commitment to combating climate change, while also taking seriously its contribution to offsetting the carbon which will be created at UEFA EURO 2020."

Beyond carbon offsetting, UEFA EURO 2020 has several initiatives related to climate action, including working with UEFA EURO 2020 host cities to provide free of charge public transport for ticket holders on matchdays.

UEFA has been offsetting the travel of employees and officials since 2008 and over the course of the past year has also invested in Gold Standard windfarm projects which have provided remote villages in New Caledonia with a continuous supply of renewable energy.

It has also signed up to the Sports for Climate Action Framework. The aim of which is to gather sports organisations, teams, athletes and fans together to help raise awareness of the need to meet the goals set out in the Paris Agreement for climate protection.