Sustainability Challenges in Professional Football: The Destructive Effects of the Society of the Spectacle

  •  Gilles Pache    


For a long time considered as a simple means of entertainment, football (soccer) has now become a main element of the society of the spectacle, with huge economic and financial stakes. A series of competitions are managed to generate significant revenues shared by international institutions (including FIFA), private companies and star players. This paper points out that professional football is engaged in a headlong rush, including the irrational use of non-renewable resources and frantic consumption among fans, especially of licensed merchandise. Dialogue between football stakeholders and the advocates of sustainability has become difficult, as evidenced by the conditions under which the 2022 FIFA World Cup will take place in Qatar, with three major controversies: initial controversies in the choice of host country; environmental controversies about stadium air conditioning; and future controversies regarding the importance of sustainability in the allocation of the next FIFA World Cups.

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