The Financial Express

Players may face punishment for recurrence of Ronaldo Coca-Cola case

| Updated: June 21, 2021 21:59:48

-Reuters file photo -Reuters file photo

Soccers, participating in Euro 2020, may face punishment for the recurrence of Cristiano Ronaldo’s removal of a Coca-Cola bottle as the UEFA has reminded the teams of contractual obligations towards tournament sponsors.

Portugal forward Ronaldo moved Coca-Cola bottles aside as he sat down to speak to the media on the eve of Tuesday’s Group F opener against Hungary in Budapest, which Portugal won 3-0.

The 36-year-old then held up a bottle of water and said “Agua” in Portuguese, making headlines, reports Reuters.

A day later, France midfielder Paul Pogba, who is a Muslim, removed a Heineken beer bottle from in front of him after France's 1-0 victory over Germany.

Italy midfielder Manuel Locatelli also moved Coca-Cola bottles aside and placed a bottle of water in front of him before speaking to the press after his Man of the Match display in a 3-0 win against Switzerland on Wednesday.

“UEFA has reminded participating teams that partnerships are integral to the delivery of the tournament and to ensuring the development of football across Europe, including for youth and women," the tournament organisers said on Thursday.

UEFA's Euro 2020 tournament director Martin Kallen said the main issue had been with Ronaldo's action but there was an understanding of players who did such things for religious reasons.

"If it is for religious reasons, they don't need to have a bottle there," said Kallen.

He told reporters the contractual obligations regarding sponsors were part of the tournament regulations signed up to by the national federations.

UEFA has not taken any disciplinary action over the incidents and Kallen said any sanctions would be a matter for federations. UEFA would not directly fine players, he added.

"We are never fining a player directly from the UEFA side, we do this always through the participating national association and they can look if they go further," said Kallen.

The UEFA official did not however rule out punishments if there are further cases.

"We have regulations signed by the participating federations. We have reminded them of their obligations but of course, this (fining) is always a possibility," he said.

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