Fifa’s WC depravity knows no bounds. If you agree, avoid all their sponsors


By Tony Attwood

That Fifa tells fibs is hardly news, but this one was one of the biggest.  For as the Guardian reports (and as is making big news in Switzerland but not in the UK newspapers), “Fifa misled fans over ‘carbon-neutral Qatar World Cup’, regulator finds.”

So we now find that a report by the Commission for Loyalty, which is a bit like the Advertising Standards Authority in the UK, but with a willingness to take on the big players rather than just respond when big advertisers want to take a swipe at the little guys, found that, “Fifa broke rules against unfair competition by making claims about the tournament that could not be proven, while using controversial offsetting measures that would not comply with Swiss standards. Fifa, which is based in Switzerland, has been warned to “refrain” from making such claims again.”

Fifa said it was “considering an appeal.”   As indeed it always does.

In essence, the reports finds that Fifa lied, lied, and lied again.   It’s hard to believe isn’t it?  An international sporting body lying about its ecological credentials.  Whatever next? 

Even more interestingly, the Commission looks set to investigate greenwashing in sport, along with sportswashing – which is incredibly relevant in England with Newcastle being taken over by a Saudi enterprise (most likely the Saudi state) and the Saudi state lining up to buy such clubs as Manchester United, and indeed many others, in the biggest sportswashing exercise ever.

It is just a shame that more newspapers and news outlets are not covering the story.

The New Weather Institute, which submitted a complaint from the UK, said that it had submitted a complaint to the Adevertising Standards Authority in England alleging that “Fifa’s claims that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar was carbon-neutral are wrong and likely to mislead consumers in the UK, therefore breaching multiple provisions of the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing and specifically the provisions on misleading advertising and on environmental claims.”

Fifa as you might reecall, presented the 2022 Qatar World Cup as “fully carbon-neutral” in its online presence.    The Complainant alleged that Fifa…

“…ignored emissions reductions as an essential part of carbon-neutrality; it did not demonstrate that it has done everything it can to reduce its own emissions prior to compensating for the remaining emissions.

Secondly Fifa, “used unsound methodology for its cabon accounting, breaching the Code by only partially accounting for the life cycle of the stadiums, by sending wrong signals regarding the stadiums’ impact on the environment, and by not taking into account day shuttle flights advertised by Gulf regional airlines when calculating flight emissions of ticket holders.”

The complaint also argues that the notion that an event the size of the World Cup could be offset was itself nonsense.  Clearly buying a ticket for a world cup match could not be carbon-neutral event as Fifa claimed.

Overall therefore, “Fifa has been found out for using false green claims as a substitute for real climate action.”    What’s more the argument is made that football is being used to promote lifestyles that threaten, “the future of athletes, fans and the sport itself.”

In fact, the whole notion that Qatar could possibly be the “first carbon-neutral World Cup” was tripe.  Even the pre-games estimate was that Qatar would produce more CO2 than any previous event.   The idea that this could be offset by “planting of gardens around the stadiums” was mindless gibberish (my phrase not theirs).  Everyone who participated in the event, or indeed watched any advertising around the event on TV, was part of a giant sportswashing environmental con-trick.

The regular said, “Even though [Fifa] repeatedly hints that it will fully offset the emissions to be definitively calculated at a later date, it is unable to provide proof that the estimated emissions have been offset. In addition, it is unclear whether [Fifa’s] offsetting measures comply with Swiss standards, eg the complete and sustainable removal of C02 from the atmosphere.”

Fifa has now been told not to make such claims again “unless it can provide, at the time of disclosure, full proof of the calculation, using generally accepted methods, of all C02 emissions caused by the tournament and proof of the full offsetting of these C02 emissions.”

Of course what all broadcasters and reporters of the world cup should do is now make fulsome apologies, equivalent to the size and scope of their coverage of the polluting world cup.

A further report, published by Carbon Market Watch before the World Cup, was also highly critical of Fifa’s claims of carbon neutrality.  Unsurprisingly Fifa rejected these claims without putting forward any evidence to support its case.

But this is an important moment for broadcasters who in part excused their bending the knee to Qatar, while ignoring its total lack of human rights, by saying that it was a carbon neutral event.

Of course what Fifa could have done was choose a country that was a) not so hot (and thus needing less air conditioning) and b) which already had stadia, and so not needing a massive building project which produced a range of stadia that have since never been used.  Fifa and the media stand together in their guilt.  (And that’s before we come to the issue of the way the migrant workers were treated, and how many died).

The sponsors who went along with this charade and thus enabled further damage to the planet were

  • Adidas
  • The Coca-Cola Company. 
  • Wanda Group. 
  • Hyundai Motors
  • Kia. 
  • Qatar Airways. 
  • QatarEnergy. 
  • VISA. 
  • Xero

Of course everyone can choose to use these organisations and their products if she or he wishes, but really everyone should know that these are corporations that associate themselves closely with an organisation that among other things enhances global warming while claiming it does the opposite.  Each time they are mentioned, so should that fact.

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