28th May 2022

Who should Brits cheer for in Euro 2008?

With no UK teams in Euro 2008, who should British supporters throw their weight behind in the European Football Championship?

Some people may choose Holland, if a recent Guardian poll is any indication – some 96 percent of respondents to a vote by readers of the UK daily said the Dutch were their top alternative team to support with all the UK teams shut out.

Read and decide

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  • Sweden is the most 'supportable' team in Euro 2008, according to a UK development charity (Photo: EUobserver)

Others, such as UK Liberal Democrat Lembik Opik may choose to support Romania. His recommendation is based on the fact that he is engaged to be married to a Cheeky Girl, the one-hit-wonder musical duo from that young European member state.

The World Development Movement, a UK development charity, however, wants the bereft supporters to choose a European team based on which of their home countries is most committed to international development or most advanced in the battle against climate change.

WDM has not compiled a list of sustainability criteria, rather, they have drafted an ethical ranking of 'supportability criteria'.

The ranking advises globally conscious football fans on how well each European country performs on a range of ethical indicators, from protection of the environment to which nation spends the most on development aid or the military.

Cuddly egalitarian Sweden comes out as the most 'supportable' in the ranking, followed by Austria and Croatia, while Italy, Greece and Russia are bottom of the ethical league.

"The website is for people who love football and want to know more about the world we live in, it's a fun way of talking about some serious issues," said Tim Jones, a policy officer with the anti-poverty organisation.

"For example, if France and Switzerland are playing, and people are interested in climate change," he added, "they can quickly find out which country is investing the most in renewables or which country has the highest CO2 emissions."

The criteria include aid spending, carbon emissions, electricity from renewable energy, military spending, inequality and corruption.

According to the ranking, Netherlands pumps out the highest amount of carbon dioxide of countries in Euro 2008, emitting 16 tonnes per person. Turkey, Romania and Croatia emit the least with three to four tonnes per person.

Were England actually playing, with its high levels of military spending and low levels of aid, it would have come second to last.

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