UEFA staged an environmental conference as part of the "Cleaner air - better game" communication campaign

Published: 7.6.2021

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UEFA staged an environmental conference as part of the "Cleaner air - better game" communication campaign

UEFA's climate conference marked the end of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship, hosted by Slovenia and Hungary. A video about the green heart of Slovenia, one of the most sustainable countries in the world, was shown at the event.

UEFA staged an environmental conference as part of the "Cleaner air - better game" communication campaign

UEFA invited some of the world’s most renowned speakers to discuss the role of football and climate action at today’s climate conference, which is part of UEFA’s "Cleaner air - better game" communication campaign. The event marked the end of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship, hosted by Slovenia and Hungary.  A video about the green heart of Slovenia, one of the most sustainable countries in the world, was shown on this occassion, to highlight the green heart of the hosting country.

Together with Hungary, Slovenia this year hosted the best young European football players at the U21 Championship. The event not only increases the visibility and reputation of Slovenia as an excellent destination for active holidays, preparation of athletes and the host of the largest sporting events, but also puts the spotlight on Slovenia's commitment to sustainability.

Slovenia ranks among the top sporting countries in the world in terms of the number of top athletes. In addition, it also enjoys a growing reputation in terms of organising the most demanding international sports competitions. Even during the COVID-19 epidemic, by providing strict safety and health measures and appropriate conditions for sports teams, Slovenia proved to be an excellent organizer of competitions in "a bubble". Particularly noteworthy are the events that take into account Slovenia's commitment to sustainability. One of such events is this year's football championship and the 'Cleaner air - better game' communication campaign, which coincides with the event.

A vital part of the "Cleaner air - better game" communication campaign is a long-standing legacy that can contribute to reducing air pollution in the host countries. The idea was proposed by a team of Slovene climate activists in 2019 with the idea of using the power of football to raise awareness on the threat of air pollution. UEFA decided to support the idea and developed an awareness-raising campaign called Cleaner Air, Better Game and launched it during the U21 Championship This is how they will use the visibility of football to inform the public about the dangers of air pollution and encourage behaviour that contributes to cleaner air and at the same time better play.

The campaign's main focus is to engage and mobilise football players and fans to make small changes to their day-to-day lives in order to contribute to a bigger/global change. Actions driven by Cleaner Air, Better Game during the group and knockout stages of the European Under-21 Championships, included: a tree planting programme in both host countries, an investment in bicycles for young and disabled children and a climate conference, which also represents the climax of a campaign.

The conference took part today, on Monday, 7 June. Key speakers were Mr. Aleksander Čeferin (UEFA President) and Mr. Frans Timmermans (Vice President of the European Commission). After both addresses, a panel on the role of football and climate action was held, discussing the effects of air pollution on our health and the environment and means to change these adverse effects and steer into a sustainable future. Among the panellists were Nobel Prize-winning scientist from Slovenia Lučka Kajfež Bogataj, Mr. Michele Uva (Head of Football and Social Responsibility) and Mr. Matthieu Flamini (former professional football player and environmental entrepreneur). On this occasion, also the video about the green Sloveniawas shown to the participants, highlighting that the host country is a real role model when it comes to sustainable, environmentally responsible ways of tourism.

Sustainability lies at the very heart of Slovenian Tourism. Even before the pandemic, Slovenia formulated the development of sustainable tourism, which offers an answer to global tourism challenges and the sustainable competitive development of Slovenian tourism. Now, even greater emphasis is given to ensuring safety and health and the development of tourist offer and products based on contact with nature.

The YouTube video from the conference is available here

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