Climate change is destroying cricket, soccer and other sports

Climate change is destroying cricket, soccer and other sports

Due to heavy rains in England and Wales, 2019 Cricket World Cup is the wettest tournament of all time resulting in abandonments of several matches. Unlike many other sports, cricket is very weather sensitive. Climate change could very well destroy it.

Cricket is the world’s second-most popular sport. When India plays Pakistan in the men’s Cricket World Cup, more than a billion people tune in to watch a match on TV. Climate change is coming for all of them.

India Premier League matches have been moved because of drought, heatwaves in Australia led to hospitalisation of players, two hurricanes in the Caribbean destroyed cricket grounds recently. Further extreme weather events could put cricket industry and its billion fans on the brink of collapse.

And cricket is not alone. Obviously climate change will impact all winter sports but heat waves also threatens tennis and soccer while higher temperatures and heavy rains have led to golf course closures.

The record heat wave sent daytime temperatures above 37 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) during the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France. Temperatures soared even higher during the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt. The heat sparked a dispute between the Moroccan coach and referees over a lack of water breaks. One player was hospitalized after collapsing due to severe dehydration. Climate change is obviously changing soccer, affecting where and when games are played, and how athletes perform. For example, there is an increased risk of heat-related injuries because teams have a limited number of substitutes.

Sports events are not only suffering from climate change but also contribute to it. FIFA estimated that the 2018 Men’s World Cup in Russia would emit about 2.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents — same amount as emissions from about 456,500 cars a year.

The impacts of climate change are driving sports towards greater sustainability, according to one report. For instance, good sustainability practices of the Manchester United club include harvesting and recycling rainwater to irrigate and maintain the pitch and an extensive recycling and reuse programme.

Photo credit: Samarth Shirke / Unsplash.com.