Europe Soccer Players Told Not To Move Drinks At Press Conferences After Cristiano Ronaldo’s Coca-Cola Snub

Europe Soccer Players Told Not To Move Drinks At Press Conferences After Cristiano Ronaldo’s Coca-Cola Snub

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Topline

European soccer’s governing body has asked players not to move drink sponsors’ bottles out of the way during news conferences, after Cristiano Ronaldo’s decision to move Coca-Cola bottles started a trend that worried officials.

Key Facts

Martin Kallen, the director for the UEFA Euro 2020 tournament, said at a briefing Thursday he’d informed the 24 participating teams to respect the sponsors, saying they “are important for the tournament and for European football.”

On Monday, Ronaldo moved two bottles of Coca-Cola away from his seat at a news conference before Portugal’s game against Hungary, with the health-conscious Portuguese superstar instead holding up an unlabeled bottle of water.

Ronaldo’s public snub of Coca-Cola was widely considered a contributing factor to a 1.6% plunge in the company’s stock price Monday, with the company’s market value dropping by $4 billion from when markets closed Friday.

French star Paul Pogba pulled a similar move at a news conference on Tuesday, moving a bottle of Heineken away from his seat following France’s 1-0 win over Germany.

Pogba is a practicing Muslim who abstains from alcohol, but the Heineken bottle was its “0.0” nonalcoholic version that the company has heavily promoted. 

Apparently the last straw for UEFA came on Wednesday, when Italian midfielder Manuel Locatelli also moved bottles of Coca-Cola away before speaking at a news conference.

Further Viewing

Crucial Quote

“It is important because the revenues of the sponsors are important for the tournament and for European football,” Kallen said Thursday.

Key Background

The European Football Championship is among the most highly watched sporting events in the world, with an estimated 2 billion people tuning into the previous tournament in 2016, and its prestige in international soccer is similar to that of the FIFA World Cup. This year’s tournament is taking place across the European continent as a special one-off format to mark its 60th anniversary, as opposed to the normal format where all the games are played in a single host country. Coca-Cola, Heineken, Qatar Airways, Takeaway.com, TikTok and Vivo Mobile are listed as official sponsors of the tournament.

Tangent

Ronaldo, 36. scored two goals in Portugal’s 3-0 win over Hungary on Monday, making him the leading goal scorer in European Championship history. His appearance in the game meant he became the first player to play in five European championships, and he has scored in all of them. Ronaldo is now only three goals behind Iran’s Ali Daei in the international scoring tables.

What To Watch For

The tournament continues through July 11, when the final will be played at Wembley Stadium in London.

Further Reading

UEFA asks Euro 2020 teams to stop removing sponsor bottles (The Associated Press)

Cristiano Ronaldo snub wipes billions off Coca-Cola’s market value (The Guardian)

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