The Euros have had their first –gate. It was only a question of when, not if. Bottle-gate has exploded like a shaken can of Pepsi left out in the sun.
First it was Ronaldo, moving the bottles of Coke from the interview table in front of him and advocating drinking water instead; then it was Pogba, removing a bottle of Heineken since it, totally understandably, went against his religious beliefs; and then Locatelli got in on the bottle-moving act, too.
The big deal? Well, the big deal. The big deal that is UEFA sponsorship. No longer content simply to have their brand names splashed over an advertising hoarding in the stadium or featuring on a backdrop to an interview, corporate sponsors to major sporting events are now demanding that their actual product is front and centre to the world’s media. And they are backing up their demands with eye-watering sums of sponsorship money.
Of course, corporate sponsorship is vital for the economics of the modern beautiful game. It would be naïve to not recognise that sport goes hand-in-hand with business, however, in this instance, I find myself in sympathy with the bottle-movers. Whilst money may be essential to keep the greasy cogs of football smoothly running, perhaps there should be a more stringent review process regarding from whom to accept that money? It does seem hypocritical to use health-promoting sport to endorse goods, which have either little, no, or negative health benefits.
If vegetables made as much profits as beer or fizzy drinks perhaps we would see a different product adorning the UEFA interview table.
Maybe everyone should be moving the bottle a little to demand a more ethical approach to sport sponsorship? #movethebottle
© Donnie Blake
Donnie Blake is getting fired up about the Euros.
Donnie Blake is author of the World Cup Detective series of books.