Quantifying the Carbon Footprint of the 2022 World Cup

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar resulted in a total carbon footprint of more than 3.6 million tonnes of CO2e according to FIFA. This amount exceeds the emissions from the 2018 World Cup and contradicts both FIFA and Qatar’s previous commitment to achieving a fully carbon-neutral event.

Despite the organisers’ long-standing efforts to implement offsetting measures and create a carbon-neutral World Cup, they have only managed to offset 544,022 tonnes, which accounts for merely 10.4% of the tournament’s overall emissions. This figure is even greater than the emissions generated by Burkina Faso, a country with a population of 21 million, during the same time period. The significance of this finding lies in the disparity between the intended carbon neutrality and the actual environmental impact of the event.

The 2022 World Cup’s Carbon Footprint

The focal point of concern regarding carbon emissions begins with Qatar’s newly constructed stadiums, specifically designed for the World Cup. These seven stadiums, each capable of accommodating at least 40,000 people, produced tonnes of CO2e throughout the duration of the tournament.

Among these stadiums, six are permanent structures, while one named Stadium 974 is a temporary venue constructed from 974 shipping containers. Stadium 974 was dismantled after the tournament. However, according to the non-profit organization Carbon Market Watch, the emissions associated with Stadium 974 are approximately 60% higher compared to the other venues.

FIFA’s estimate of the stadiums’ carbon footprint was 888,852 tonnes, which is less than half of the calculated value, relying on a questionable premise. According to their approach, the emissions from the stadiums should be measured over their predicted lifespan of 60 years, and FIFA and Qatar should only be held accountable for the 70-day period encompassing the 2019 and 2020 Club World Cups, as well as the World Cup itself.

However, this perspective seems unreasonable. These stadiums would not have been constructed if it were not for the World Cup, so it is logical to attribute their entire carbon footprints to the tournament. Furthermore, once the stadiums are built, they require ongoing maintenance in Qatar’s harsh weather conditions. This maintenance process necessitates the use of 10,000 litres of desalinated water per day in winter and 50,000 litres per day in summer. The cumulative emissions resulting from this water usage have reached 27,439 tonnes of CO2e.


The organisers’ efforts to reduce and offset the World Cup’s emissions have been inadequate to the point of negligence.

FIFA said in 2019 that “the Supreme Committee’s objective is to reach carbon neutrality before the tournament kicks off.”

FIFA and the Supreme Committee have miserably failed in this goal, as well as their aim to offset 1.8 million tonnes of CO2e.