Greener stadiums, is it possible?

What could be less ecological than a stadium welcoming tens of thousands of supporters for a sporting event? A Ligue 1 match alone generates around ten tonnes of waste; to water lawns, millions of cubic meters of water are needed every year; and hundreds of tons of CO2 are issued to transport the public to each day of the championship.

While eyes will turn in a few days to the air-conditioned stadiums erected by Qatar for the World Cup, some structures in France are already trying to green. With their hybrid lawns, the installation of photovoltaic panels on the roofs or even a rainwater recovery system, they claim eco-responsible behavior.

A growing awareness

Model clubs in terms of sustainable development? Antoine Miche, president of the Football Ecology France association, seems skeptical. “We can of course cite Lorient, which has bet on geothermal energy, or the stadiums of Lyon and Nice, which are renowned for their water recovery system. In reality, they all have their particularity, but not enough to be set up as a model”, emphasizes this specialist. While hoping that the Brest stadium, which should undergo a considerable renovation in the next few years, will be an exception.

“Overall, we can feel a growing awareness in clubs and leagues on environmental issues, believes the former international rugby player Julien Pierre, himself very committed to this subject. But their willingness to take responsibility is not enough. “85% of the stadiums belong to the communities, the effort must come from the top”, he believes.

It remains to pay the price. But today, cities do not provide sufficient resources to properly renovate sports arenas, according to Antoine Miche. “Investments to make stadiums greener run into tens of millions of euros. Cities that are in favor of it often find themselves confronted with a metropolis that does not want it; Or vice versa. Difficult, under these conditions, to obtain sufficient subsidies”, he laments.

Hybrid lawn versus artificial lawn

Despite these political uncertainties, Bertrand Picard, founder of Natural Grass, the French leader in the construction of high-level hybrid lawns, wants to believe that the world of sport will change. “We are constantly approached by clubs looking for solutions to adapt to climate change and to reduce their environmental footprint, he testifies. Our customers are a reflection of society: clubs and leagues obviously want to reduce their environmental impact, but to do so they need solutions that work. »

The hybrid turf specialist speaks with knowledge, because the technology it develops partly embodies the future of stadiums. By hybrid lawn, understand a 100% natural lawn, rooted in a substrate reinforced at the level of the roots by less than 1% of synthetic fibers, kinds of artificial roots allowing a better anchoring of the lawn. The opposite of synthetic turf, made up of 100% plastic materials.

“Hybrid lawns also allow their neighbors to benefit from the benefits of natural grass: combating heat islands through evapotranspiration (the lawn becomes a real natural air conditioner)CO capture2(up to 15 tons per year)dust filtration, retention and filtering of storm water, biodiversity…”, adds Bertrand Picard. According to him, the additional economic cost“about 20%”is offset by lower maintenance costs over the long term.

Access to the stadium, the construction site of tomorrow

For two years, an environmental label, the first in the sports field, certifies the commitment of clubs in terms of ecology. Created by Julien Pierre, Fair Play for Planet defends an economic and social development model concerned with the environment through 350 criteria. Among them, that of the accessibility of sports arenas: “The big subject of tomorrow’s stadiums lies in how to get there”, says the former professional player.

Focusing on carpooling and the accessibility of public transport, the latter regrets that many stadiums are far from urban centers. Although some clubs have set up reduced fares, or even free access, for access to public transport on match nights, the share of spectators coming to the stadium by this means does not exceed 9%, according to figures from the think Sport and citizenship tank.

Sporting events, accelerators of change?

At a time when most observers point to the environmental aberration of the World Cup in Qatar, Julien Pierre calls for a more global reflection on the holding of major sporting events. “Perhaps we should think about regionalizing things, doing less but better, he suggests. The world of sport represents only 1% of greenhouse gas emissions, but it has an exceptional power of communication. You have to surf on it. »

On the Qatar side, the carbon footprint presented by FIFA, equivalent to 3.6 million tonnes of CO2, is once again contested. According to calculations by the company specializing in the assessment of the carbon footprint of major events, Greenly, the competition should release the equivalent of 6 million tonnes into the atmosphere. A result almost twice that envisaged by the international federation. Infrastructure alone represents 27% of the carbon footprint, according to the study.


A heavy environmental impact

According to a study by the online media Youmatter, it is necessary to count:

100,000 kWh of electricity to light a stadium for one match, i.e. the consumption of 20 households in one year.

36 million liters of water for the maintenance of the lawn of the Stade de France for one year. This equates to 720,000 ten-minute showers.

60 tonnes of CO2for car travel by one-third of supporters to an enclosure of more than 30,000 people, for one year. This is the fuel consumption for six round-the-world trips by car.



Euro football: everything is still possible for the Blues

“The fact that France draws against Hungary changes absolutely nothing, France probably remains the favorite for the Euro, because it is world champion, with a young team which continues to improve”. These reassuring words do not come from a member of the France team, or even from a blissful observer. But Roberto Mancini, boss of the Italian team, already qualified for the eighth after two games, unlike France.

→ REPORT. Euro 2021: France hits the Budapest wall

This formula must not have escaped the Italian-speaking Didier Deschamps, who played for five years at Juventus, at the time when Mancini wore the jersey of Genoa and then of Rome. Especially since it joins, roughly speaking, its analysis, of a measured but real optimism, formulated after the draw against Hungary. “ You have to be satisfied at times in matches like that. We did not lose, that gives us one more point, it gives us the opportunity to have the cards in hand for the third game ”, said the coach of the France team.

Exactly: at the end of the first two tricks in this group F, called “of death”, with Germany 2014 world champion, Portugal 2016 European champion and France 2018 world champion, everyone can still qualify. Including modest Hungary, 37e global nation, whose footballing glory dates back to the 1950s.

The Hungarians, from their point gleaned against France, can mathematically deprive Germany or Portugal of the round of 16 on Wednesday, June 23. France is not immune to anything, but it would take a very unlikely combination of circumstances, so that the Blues do not grab at least a third place in the group, synonymous with qualification (read below).

Didier Deschamps evokes a turnover between his players

This uncertainty could have been removed from Saturday 19 by a victory. No offense to the boss of the Blues, his boys should have got rid of these valiant but limited Magyars. And the reassuring remarks of Didier Deschamps mask intense reflections that are not very secret, since he has let some clues filter out. ” I do not exclude that there may be a rotation between the players ”, he conceded. Already fueling the rumor mill concerning first and foremost Karim Benzema.

In four games since his return to blue, the latter has neither scored nor delivered an assist, even missing a penalty in preparation against Wales. Saturday 19, he should perhaps not have seen the second half, so much the first was sluggish in the animation and clumsy in front of the goal in the first half.

How can a center-forward from the Madrilenian class, top French scorer in the history of the Champions League, put aside a shot that is in principle unmissable? The answer is the opposite of this unscrewed foot: in the mind of a player victim of the enormous pressure on his shoulders since his return to the France team, after five years of absence. “He has the chances, it will come, the first goal is the hardest”, customs clearance Antoine Griezmann.

Antoine Griezmann confident

Karim Benzema is not, far from it, the only one involved. Paul Pogba, royal against Germany, was transparent against the Hungarians. Raphaël Varane is not exempt from all reproach on the only Hungarian goal, even if it is Benjamin Pavard who bears the main responsibility. Adrien Rabiot was not very sharp …

→ PRACTICAL. Euro 2021: curfew, fan-zones, bars… How to follow the matches?

Part of this small world has also returned to the locker room earlier than expected, supplemented by fresh men who have not done much better. No luck, the best substitute, Ousmane Dembélé, who entered the second half, had to come out of the pitch before the final whistle, victim of a blow. Deprived of training on Sunday, June 20 in Budapest, he had to take exams at the end of the day.

Antoine Griezmann, who celebrated his fiftieth selection on Saturday in a row, was one of the few Blues up to the task and not only because he scored the goal to return to the score. All but a coincidence, it is him that Didier Deschamps sent to speak to the press, Sunday, to find excuses to his teammates and to announce the menu. “We are disappointed, angry, but confident, he said, this match (against Portugal, Editor’s note) we have the team to win it ”.


Qualification, instructions for use

In this Euro with 24 teams, only 16 will be invited to the round of 16. The top two from each group qualify, as well as the top four third. This last point triggers an inflation of combinations preventing them from already giving their ticket to the Blues.

A victory or a draw against Portugal on Wednesday 23 June would give a first or second place in the group, synonymous with qualification. But in case of defeat, it would get complicated, even if the statistics are clearly favorable. It would therefore be best not to lose against the Portuguese. During the final of Euro 2016, the Blues archi favorites were trapped by the men of Cristiano Ronaldo, who is still at the top of his game at 36 years old.