Sustainable Football: A Global and Immediate Challenge

    futfem; sustainability
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Sport that mobilizes crowds, football causes large crowds in stadiums. With high energy consumption, large generations of CO2 and large waste production, initiatives that seek a more sustainable football are already a reality in Brazil and in the world.

National Football Day is celebrated on July 19. The date was chosen by the Brazilian Sports Confederation (CBF) in 1976, in honor of the oldest team in the country in activity, the Sport Club Rio Grande, from Rio Grande do Sul, founded on July 19, 1900.

A pioneer of Brazilian football, Rio Grande has the colors of the flag of Rio Grande do Sul. The title of "1st brazilian football club" can generate discussions. Mainly because other teams were founded before (such as São Paulo Athletic Club, Mackenzie and Germany), but all are extinct. There are others, such as Flamengo, which were founded before, but only started to have a football team after 1900. The only one that appeared in the same year of Rio Grande was Ponte Preta, but 23 days later, on August 11.



Before football was officially introduced by Charles Miller in Brazil in 1894, the Brazilian Cricket Club already practiced the sport in 1880. The first football match in Brazil took place on August 1, 1901 and was held in Niterói. The match, between a Brazilian and an English team, ended 1-1.

With the professionalization of football, the clubs that today are considered the "giants of Brazilian football" were created, such as Fluminense (1902), Grêmio (1903), Internacional (1909), Corinthians (1910) and Palestra Italia (1914), now Palmeiras. Some rowing clubs, a popular sport at the time, created football departments, such as Teams such as Botafogo (1904), Flamengo (1911), and Vasco da Gama (1915).

Brazil is known as the country of football and is the team with the most world titles. In addition, it is the land of the "King of Football", Pelé, and the "Queen of Football", Marta, voted five times best player in the world. Besides many idols like Garrincha, Romário, Ronaldo, Cristiane and Formiga.



Sport that mobilizes crowds, football causes large crowds in stadiums. With high energy consumption, large generations of CO2 and large waste production, initiatives that seek sustainable football are already a reality in Brazil and in the world.

Electricity is one of the indispensable factors for practice. That's because, more than the lighting of the match, which demands gigantic reflectors, the stadium's electricity also allows the preparation of players, the safe traffic of fans, the work of match day teams, trade and more. At Maracanã, Brazil's main stadium, energy consumption in a month costs up to 1 million reais.

For many companies that run stadiums, the biggest reason for spending is reflectors. This is because, in addition to consuming a lot of energy, the most economical equipment is not always installed. In this sense, there is an effort for stadiums to make the change from their lighting systems to LED models,which consume less energy.

In addition to electricity, football also generates a lot of CO2 indirectly. This is the case in the transport sector, for example. At the 2006 World Cup, an estimated 2.1 million tons of CO2 is spent on the displacement of fans.

Another major generator of indirect CO2 is the works in stadiums. For the 2014 World Cup, only renovations and stadium construction sspent approximately 573,000 tons of CO2.

Contribution of CO2e emissions, by stadium, in Brazil 2014
cityStadium/ArenaCapacity (people)Area (m²)Type of ConstructionEmissions (tCO2e)
LondonMineirão Stadium64.000209.000reform60.610
BrasiliaNational Stadium71.400214.000new62.060
CuiabaArena Pantanal43.136101.400new29.406
CuritibaArena da Baixada42.000124.000reform35.960
fortressCastelão Stadium63.903162.000reform46.980
ManausAmazon Arena44.000170.000new49.300
ChristmasArena das Dunas42.623120.000new34.800
Porto AlegreBeira-Rio Stadium52.000171.082reform49.614
reefArena Pernambuco46.160129.000new37.410
Rio de JaneiroMaracanã Stadium79.000203.463reform59.004
saviourArena Fonte Nova52.048176.500new51.185
Sao PauloArena de Itaquera65.807198.000new57.420
total12 Arenas / 12 Cities666.0771.978.4455 Reforms7 New573.749

Source: CO2Zero (2012) and Tóffano (2013)


The 2014 World Cup in Brazil was a successful spectacle, from the mixture of cultures to unforgettable matches. For the event, stadiums were made with modern and, in many cases, sustainable structures.

Examples of sustainable Brazilian stadiums that currently generate their own energy: arena Pernambuco (PE), Maracanã (RJ), Mineirão (MG) and Pituaçu Arena (BA). Even though it was not among the world cup stadiums, Pituaçu Stadium was a pioneer in Latin America in adhering to photovoltaic sit.

Located in Salvador and with a capacity of 32,000 people, the stadium began generating energy in 2012, with the Pituaçu Solar project. Currently, the plant has 2,302 photovoltaic modules and generates about 630 MWH /Year, ensuring electrical self-sufficiency for the stadium.

The project was carried out by Coelba,through the Energy Efficiency Program,approved by ANEEL (National Electric Energy Agency) in partnership with the government of the State of Bahia. The Pituaçu photovoltaic plant was the first to use this technology for installations of this size in Brazil.

Coelba was also responsible for the installation of the new projectors of the Pituaçu stadium that generate a savings of 33 MWH/ Year. More modern and efficient, the projectors are equipped with a design more suitable for application in open stadiums, with precision optics and high technology, the 112 metal steam projectors 2000 WATTS offer higher luminosity and are more efficient than the 192 projectors previously installed.


In 2020, Neoenergia inaugurated the first electric mobility corridor in the Northeast, which will be the largest in Brazil when completed. It will connect the capitals Salvador (BA) and Natal (RN), passing through the cities of Aracaju (SE), Maceió (AL), Recife (PE) and João Pessoa (PB). The project will be more than 1,100 kilometers long and a structure that will have 18 refueling points along the roads that connect the states and in urban areas.

"Neoenergia's Green Corridor is an innovative initiative to stimulate sustainability. The project offers society a possible alternative to contribute to the fight against climate change. Encouraging electric mobility means reducing greenhouse gas emissions by decarbonizing the vehicle fleet,"says José Brito, Director of Research and Development at Neoenergia.

The northeast has the largest number of teams registered in the divisions of the Brazilian Men's Championship. With 38 teams, the region concentrates 29.6% of the participants of series A, B, C and D. Many of these clubs make their trips by bus. In women's football, 12 northeastern clubs compete in the A-1 and A-2 series. The corridor also serves fans who move to the stadiums, with quick recharge points in malls and stations.

Learn about other Neoenergy initiatives in Sustainable Mobility. 


Neoenergia is the first company in the country to exclusively sponsor the women's team. In addition to being the official sponsor of the Brazilian Women's Soccer Teams, Neoenergia also sponsors the Neoenergia Women's Brasileirão.

" Neoenergia's support for women's sport reinforces the company's commitment to expanding women's participation in the social and professional context, promoting gender equity. We believe in equality in all fields and share with these players the same values as effort, overcoming, professionalism andteamwork," says Mario Ruiz-Tagle, CEO of Neoenergia.

Under the terms of the agreement, it is planned the installation of solar panels in Granja Comary, training center of the selections in Rio de Janeiro. The energy company will accompany the Brazilian women's, adult and base teams at important moments such as the final stretch for the preparation for the Tokyo Olympic Games, the Copa América 2022, the South American Base Championships, the Women's World Cup 2023 and the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.


Iberdrola and the Spanish Royal Football Federation have partnered to promote the first sustainable football city in the concentration facilities of the Spanish football teams in the town of Las Rozas in Madrid. The sports complex will have a self-consumption system integrated by 110 solar panels that will illuminate the games of the selections with renewable energy.

Iberdrola will also install 20 recharging points for electric vehicles with the aim of encouraging sustainable mobility between athletes and fans.

Neonergia and Grupo Iberdrola develop a project that boosts women's participation in the sport, and currently has more than 330,000 athletes subsidized by the brand. Iberdrola sponsors the women's national team and the first division of women's football, which was now called the Iberdrola League and is currently the First Iberdrola, in addition to 15 other Spanish federations in other modalities.

See more about #EqualityInAllTheFields​

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