UEFA has launched its new Sustainable Infrastructure Guidelines which introduces the concept of infrastructure sustainability, structured around the topics of Environment, Social and Governance (ESG).
The guidelines cover key subjects such as purpose, location, design, conception and construction, pitch and landscaping. In addition, they provide insights into the infrastructure management phase, addressing the use of embedded technology in stadium infrastructure and pitch quality, the management of event-related waste, and health and safety matters.
The guidelines have been developed with the support of experts externally, such as architects and clubs, and internally at UEFA through its football and social responsibility division and football operations department.
UEFA said the Sustainable Infrastructure Guidelines document is designed to be an online working tool and will be updated on a regular basis with the latest trends around technology, legislation and stakeholder expectations.
Aleksander Čeferin, UEFA’s president, said: “The best preparation for tomorrow is doing our best today. These guidelines offer many innovative solutions and principles, whether you are planning to build new facilities or refurbish existing ones. If football comes together and bundles its power to drive sustainable change, it will have a powerful and long-lasting positive impact.”
Infrastructure Sustainability is one of the 11 policies currently being deployed as part of UEFA’s Football Sustainability Strategy 2030, ‘Strength through Unity’. The policy’s ambition is to continue to raise the bar for European football infrastructure by setting criteria and sharing best practices for a new generation of sustainable football venues.
Endorsed by the European Commission, the guidelines — which can be downloaded here — will help national associations, leagues, clubs, stadium and infrastructure managers, local authorities, and other football stakeholders to embed ESG practices and generate value across the three stages of the football infrastructure lifecycle by 2030.
UEFA said: “UEFA will support national associations and clubs’ sustainability officers in the guidelines’ implementation through dedicated workshops and monitoring of the various activities. Numerous case studies and best practices are included in the guidelines and will be updated regularly, based on technological advancement, legislation, expectations from civil society and ever-evolving UEFA requirements.”
The document was presented at a dedicated event at MEWA Arena in Mainz in Germany, the nation that will host Euro 2024. UEFA said the ambition is for this event to be the most sustainable European Championships ever and a driving force for sustainable development in German and European football.
UEFA added: “The tournament is integrating sustainability dimensions in its tournament requirements and regulations, as well as in the match schedule, and will promote concrete and tangible actions in favour of the environment, social impact and good governance. At the same time, the event’s 10 designated host cities will rely entirely on existing stadiums and facilities to stage their allocated matches.”