The European Football Association (UEFA) has responded to Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo removing a bottle of Coca-Cola during a press conference at the current European Championship by telling the teams that they have contractual obligations to the tournament sponsors that must be respected.
Ronaldo pushed aside Coca-Cola bottles when he spoke to the media on the eve of the opening group F matches against Hungary in Budapest last Tuesday, which Portugal won 3-0.
The 36-year-old put a bottle of water and said “Ajoa” in Portuguese, which made him headlines after this situation.
A day later, French midfielder Paul Pogba, a Muslim, removed a bottle of beer bearing the “Heineken” sign in front of him, after France’s 1-0 victory over Germany.
“UEFA reminded the participating teams that partnership with sponsors is an integral part of organizing the tournament and ensures the development of the game across Europe, including the youth and women’s competitions,” tournament organizers said today.
European Championship 2021 director Martin Kalin said the main issue was what Ronaldo had done, but it was understandable that players did so for religious reasons.
“If it was for religious reasons (the teachings of Islam), there would be no need to put a beer bottle,” he added.
Kalin told reporters that contractual obligations to sponsors are part of tournament regulations signed by the national associations.
UEFA did not take any disciplinary action in connection with these facts. Kalin said any penalties would be up to the national associations. He added that UEFA does not intend to impose direct fines on players.
“UEFA does not impose direct fines on any player, we always do it through the national associations who can see that they can go further.”
But the European official did not rule out imposing sanctions in the event of other incidents in the future.