FIFA guilty of deception by calling Qatar World Cup climate neutral

FIFA guilty of deception by calling Qatar World Cup climate neutral
Press during the final of the past World Cup in Qatar

NOS Football

World soccer federation FIFA has been found guilty by Swiss advertising watchdog of misleading consumers by declaring that the World Cup in Qatar was “climate neutral.”

The advertising watchdog says FIFA should “refrain from such claims in the future unless it can provide, at the time of communication, a full substantiation of its calculation, based on generally accepted methods, of all CO2 emissions resulting from the tournament, and evidence that these CO2 emissions have been fully offset.”

Complaints by Vriends, Middag and Thorsby

In its ruling, the Swiss advertising watchdog stated that “FIFA gave the false and misleading impression that the Qatar World Cup had already achieved climate neutrality before and during the World Cup.”

FIFA also had “no credible evidence of how all CO2 emissions from this tournament could be offset in line with Swiss standards.”

FIFA is therefore asked to “refrain in the future from claiming that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar was climate and carbon neutral.”

The complaint had been filed in November 2022 by organizations in five countries, to their respective advertising watchdogs: Fossil Free Football and Advertising Fossil Free in the Netherlands, New Weather Institute in the United Kingdom, Alliance Climatique in Switzerland, Notre Affaire à tous in France and Carbon Market Watch in Belgium.

Along with the complaints, an open letter was also sent to FIFA, by Sparta Rotterdam player Bart Vriends, Rangers FC player Tessel Middag and We Play Green founder and Union Berlin player Morten Thorsby, among others.

Sparta defender Bart Vriends is one of the filers of the complaint

National advertising watchdogs forwarded the complaint to the Swiss advertising watchdog. The organizations argued that FIFA’s claim that the World Cup in Qatar would be “climate neutral” is misleading.

This was partly based on a report by Carbon Market Watch, which made clear that FIFA severely underestimated the World Cup’s emissions, including those from the construction of the stadiums. In addition, FIFA did not include the five hundred daily shuttle flights between Dubai, Riyadh, Kuwait and Qatar in its calculation.

The complaint to the Advertising Code Committee also explains how well-known former footballers such as Ronald de Boer and David Beckham participated in misleading campaigns by the World Cup organization.

Kayleigh Williams