«UEFA is committed to sustainable development and protection of the environment». Everywhere except Ukraine?
Preparation for the Euro 2012 Football Championship turned out to be mass destruction of green areas in Kharkiv. It was this sports event, in the city authorities’ opinion, that required building the road across Gorky Park, mass destruction of trees in Prospekt Gagarina Ave., assigning 25 hectares of the recreational forest for building a small hotel etc.
To learn UEFA’s stand concerning this occasion, we sent the appeal ‘Kharkiv has destroyed its ‘green shield’ for the good of the three days of the ‘big football’’ to the executive committee of this organization on November 20. Resting upon Kharkiv’s example, we observed in it, that, being interested in the Championship’s infrastructure preparation, the UEFA management turns a blind eye to the violations accompanying the construction activities that harm the environment of the receiving city (see the full text of the appeal at http://pechenegy.org.ua/en/node/475).
In connection with this we asked the football association to reconsider the conditions for the preparation of the countries receiving the Championship, go into the environmental issue for them and toughen the requirements for their fulfillment. At the same time collection of signatures under these requirements was started (http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/959/818/777/, on February 15 the petition will be closed and signatures will be sent to UEFA).
And so, responses to our appeal have arrived, from the UEFA's Director of Communications, Alexandre Fourtoy and UEFA Events SA Operations Director Martin Kallen (UEFA Events is a wholly owned subsidiary of UEFA, created to manage and handle the European governing body's commercial and event operations).
Thus, Martin Kallen noted that ‘As far as the activities and the destruction of parks and trees as outlined in your letter are concerned, we would like to inform you that these projects were carried out independently by the city of Kharkiv and in certain cases they were done in the course of general renovation works undertaken by the city’. As we understood, Mr. Kallen shows in this way, that the destruction of Kharkiv’s green areas is by no means connected with the football championship. However, facts prove the contrary. The ‘reconstruction’ of Prospekt Gagarina Ave. was stipulated by the General plan for infrastructure (see http://www.greenkit.net/Members/Pe4eneg/Zastroyki/Plan__k_Evro.pdf, p. 185, No. 2414), this plan also stipulates complete overhaul of Moskovskiy Prospekt Ave. (see the same document, No. 2417) and building a hotel in the city recreational forest (see the same document, p. 126, No. 1682).
‘Reconstruction’ of Prospekt Gagarina Ave. resulted in destroying more than 900 trees. I.e. having approved such a project, UEFA has in fact approved destruction of these trees as well. We can also consider that UEFA has favoured any harm for community landscape during the reparations of Moskovskiy Prospekt Ave. and hotel construction in the recreational forest.
Next, Mr. Martin Kallen reassures us: «Furthermore, the authorities of the city of Kharkiv have ensured UEFA that the regulations in this respect will be observed and that the city intends to plant new trees in order to replace those that had been cut». Well, about the way Kharkiv officials really ‘oversee the regulations’, it was said numerous times. For example, underreporting the real extent of cutovers has become a regular practice (http://pechenegy.org.ua/ru/node/477). Fulfillment of city officials’ promises can also be seen perfectly well at the current photos of Kharkiv streets (see https://picasaweb.google.com/113425524036411200199/qVqgRI).
Alexandre Fourtoy also says that ‘UEFA is committed to sustainable development and protection of the environment’ not touching, however, upon the burning issue – how it did this during the preparation for the final of EURO 2012 in Ukraine.
Globality of UEFA environmental protection activities is impressive (http://ua.uefa.com/uefa/socialresponsibility/adhocpartnership/news/newsi...). Sums paid over for the environmental protection every season — almost 10% of Kharkiv’s budget - are stunning (see the text of Alexandre Fourtoy’s letter). The following was even cited as an example for us: «Sustainable development and protection of the environment were key aspects in the bidding requirements for UEFA EURO 2016...» (http://www.uefa.com/MultimediaFiles/Download/Regulations/uefa/Others/84/...). This document has section 05: «Social Responsibility and Environment» and the requirements of this section are quite grave.
There are many documents for Ukraine, where the smallest details of the preparation are stated – even banner fixing examples with pictures! (http://www.uefa.com/MultimediaFiles/Download/ITT/competitions/EURO/01/74...) As to social projects, we managed to find only the document ‘Football and social responsibility’, which doesn’t say a word about environmental responsibility (http://www.uefa.com/MultimediaFiles/Download/EuroExperience/uefaorg/Resp...).
UEFA’s direct financial contribution to the UEFA EURO 2012 football and social responsibility projects is some €3,000,000. And how much did it contribute to the improvement of the receiving cities’ environment? How could it happen, that such a respectable organization didn’t dare impose any significant requirements on Ukraine, except for the infrastructure?
Every time before holding the final of the championship UEFA distributes the so-called «ITT information», i.e. INVITATION TO TENDER. However, documents connected with this invitation are available on the UEFA website only for some time. What environmental standards are covered in them?
Do they exist at all, these standards for Ukraine and Poland?
Altogether, the received answers give rise to doubts, that UEFA has distinct requirements set once and for all, according to which observation of environmental standards can be controlled during the preparation and staging of championships. Moreover, it is likely that as for Ukraine (and probably Poland), UEFA didn’t bother itself with this problem at all, paying attention to the football infrastructure exclusively.
Martin Kallen’s answer, see http://www.greenkit.net/Members/Pe4eneg/uefa/UEFA_from_MartinKallen.pdf/...
correspondingly, Alexandre Fourtoy’s answer – http://www.greenkit.net/Members/Pe4eneg/uefa/UEFA_otvet.pdf/download
"Pechenigy" Environmental Group:
Angelina Rusanova, тел. (066)-361-26-80, tehhishek[at]gmaіl.com