Environmental groups in several European countries have filed complaints with advertising regulators, calling into question claims that the FIFA World Cup will be carbon neutral.
Climate activists said on Wednesday they had filed complaints with advertising regulators in several European countries over "misleading" claims the football World Cup in Qatar next month will be carbon neutral.
In France, the association Notre Affaire A Tous said it had turned to the advertising standards body over "greenwashing" by FIFA, football's international governing body.
"Similar complaints for misleading advertising were submitted in Britain, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands to challenge the carbon neutrality claims concerning the organisation of the Qatar World Cup," the group said.
The complaints refer to the work of the group Carbon Market Watch which has criticised the methodology used to calculate the event will be carbon neutral, in particular the attribution of emissions from the construction of eight new stadiums and offsets.
"Who can honestly believe that the construction of air-conditioned stadiums in the middle of a desert can be carbon neutral?" said Notre Affaire A Tous's executive officer, Jeremie Suissa.
"Football fans should be able to enjoy their sport without being taken hostage by FIFA's drastic choices," he added.
Footballers published in parallel an open letter calling on FIFA to abandon claims that Qatar 2022 is carbon neutral, to focus reducing CO2 emissions and resort to offsets as a last resort.
The letter was signed by footballers including Norwegian international Morten Thorsby, Tessel Middag of Rangers WFC, Elin Landstrom of AS Roma Women, Wycombe Wanderers midfielder David Wheeler and others.