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Last Updated: Saturday, 25 September, 2004, 12:33 GMT 13:33 UK
FA Cup study set to help the planet
By Nick Dermody
BBC News Online

Millwall fans
Millwall fans were more likely to hire a limousine to go to the match
A study of the ecological impact of the FA Cup Final is set to help architects design more efficient sports grounds.

Researchers from Cardiff University are measuring how much energy, fuel, food, water and drink is consumed at the annual clash of Britain's top teams.

The eco audit of one of Britain's major sporting events studied this year's Manchester United-Millwall clash.

But it is also working out the eco "footprint" of Wales's 74,525 capacity Millennium Stadium.

Cardiff University researchers aim to calculate how much of the earth's resources go into staging top-flight sporting events such as the FA Cup.

This month, the FA announced the Millennium Stadium has also landed this season's two FA Cup semi finals, in April next year.

The assessment of the match's so-called ecological footprint is expressed in terms of how much land would have to be cultivated to provide the equivalent energy consumed on the day.

If we have a breakdown of where most energy is expended to build a building, then we can start looking at how we can cut it down
Paola Sassi

It comes after small army of researchers from the university's Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society (Brass), quizzed fans at the 22 May FA Cup final, which Manchester United won 3-0.

The interim findings show the fans of the Devils' and Lions had a markedly different approach on how to get there.

Manchester United fans were much more likely to travel by train, with only six groups hiring a limousine for the day.

In comparison, more than 50 groups of Millwall fans - among a much smaller fan base - hired limousines for their journey to Cardiff.

But the most popular foods consumed across the terraces were what many would expect - sausage rolls, pies, pasties and chips.

Wales' Millennium Stadium
The stadium is also having its "footprint" measured

And when it came to drink, for every bottle of water sold there was nearly eight cans of soft drinks and over ten pints of lager.

But the study also collected facts and figures on the amount of material used in the construction of the stadium, built for the Rugby World Cup in 1999 at a cost of 164m.

The sports venue, the first in the UK with a retractable roof, used 16,000 tonnes of concrete and steel and dominates Cardiff's skyline.

Paola Sassi is a lecturer at the Welsh School of Architecture at Cardiff University. She is also a practising architect with an expertise in sustainable design.

She said: "The eco-footprint of anything is becoming more and more important, just for people to understand where all our resources are going.

"We know that we are living well outside our means, so really it's a question of wherever we can cut back.

'Environmental sustainability'

"The only way we can really address the issue is if we have a really detailed breakdown of where the energy is being used, otherwise nothing will happen."

"If we have a breakdown of where most energy is expended to build a building, then we can start looking at how we can cut it down.

"We could start looking at whether it is more environmentally sustainable to have one major facility in say, Cardiff, and none in a 100-mile radius, or whether it is more sustainable to have more smaller ones."

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