The Champions is League is back, and so are its polluting sponsors

The Champions League is back. The anthem, the players and the sponsors. The matches will be watched by fans around the world.

They admire the young players on the field, wearing the shirts of their favourite teams. These shirts feature team logos and sponsors. So which companies get to improve their name recognition and reputation through associating themselves with the biggest start of current football?

Among these 8 sponsors, we find:
– 4 airlines. Emirates sponsors AC Milan, Sport Lisboa e Benfica and Real Madrid C.F. Etihad Airways sponsors Manchester City Football Club.
– 1 cryptobusiness. DigitalBits sponsors FC Internazionale Milano and, according to news reports, does not pay its bills.

Air travel is the most carbon-intensive form of travel on earth and there is currently no low carbon alternative. If unmitigated, aviation emissions are expected to double or triple by 2050 and in doing so consume up to one-quarter of the global carbon budget under a 1.5 degree scenario. In short, lowering demand for aviation is the only sensible climate strategy, and advertisements do the exact opposite.

Cryptocurrencies use enourmous amounts of electricity, recent estimates suggest as much as the entire country of Australia. Mining crypto means reopening coal plants around the world.

In short, football sells some of the most polluting fossil fuel products that lead us to an unlivable planet.

All these clubs participate in a tournament organised by UEFA. UEFA is also sponsored by Turkish Airlines. At the same time, UEFA signed up to the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework. One of the principles of this framework is to “promote sustainable and responsible consumption”. Advertisements for polluting products on shirts and the hoardings around the pitches are totally inconsistent with this commitment.

So, UEFA: when are you going to act? Will you continue to ask young players to function as running billboards for businesses threatening their and our future?

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