Paul Pogba moves sponsor’s beer from view at Euro 2020 news conference
France midfielder Paul Pogba became the latest footballer to take issue with Euro 2020’s official beverages after removing a bottle of Heineken beer that had been placed in front of him at a news conference on Tuesday.
Pogba, a practising Muslim, moved the bottle of Heineken’s non-alcoholic 0.0 brand when he sat down to speak to the media after he was named ‘Man of the Match’ in France’s 1-0 win over Germany.
It came a day after Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo removed two bottles of Coca-Cola at a news conference and held up a bottle of water, saying “Agua” – Portuguese for water.
It is the latest instance of unexpected focus on the sponsors of the tournament. Ahead of the France-Germany match a protester from environmental group Greenpeace parachuted into the stadium to protest against Volkswagen as a tournament sponsor, and demand that the German manufacturer stop the sale of petrol and diesel cars.
Scrutiny of sponsors is a regular feature of big sports tournaments. Previous criticism has focused on the involvement of sponsors such as Coca-Cola and fast food giant McDonald’s. Campaigners on tackling obesity argue that marketing for products with high sugar or fat content is contributing to a global obesity epidemic.
Other campaigns have previously highlighted the presence of cigarette companies and betting companies among sports sponsors, although neither are present at Euro 2020.
The sponsors of the tournament include Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned gas producer, and Qatar Airways.
Uefa, the organiser of the tournament, did not immediately comment on Heineken.
However, after Ronaldo’s comments, Uefa said: “Coca-Cola offers a range of drinks to suit different tastes and needs, which are available to players throughout the tournament. This includes waters, isotonic sports drinks and juices, coffee and tea, as well as Coca-Cola.
“Players are offered water, alongside Coca-Cola and Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, on arrival at our press conferences. Everyone is entitled to their drink preferences.”