FOOTBALLERS have been taking a stand against unhealthy drinks being promoted during the Euro 2020 championship.
One of the tournament’s best known players, Cristiano Ronaldo, captain of Portugal, removed two bottles of Coca-Cola during a press conference.
Renowned for looking after his health, he held up a bottle of water, saying “agua” (Portuguese for water).
The next day, France star Paul Pogba moved a non-alcoholic bottle of beer away from his press conference table. He’s a Muslim and, for religious reasons, doesn’t drink alcohol.
Italy’s midfielder Manuel Locatelli was next, also replacing the Coca-Cola bottle on his table with water.
While the players’ actions were praised by those concerned about healthy diets, UEFA, who run the tournament, were upset. They warned teams that they could face fines if their players moved drinks provided by sponsors at news conferences.
Some of the world’s biggest companies – like Coca-Cola, Adidas and JustEat – have spent millions of pounds to be associated with Euro 2020.
This includes having their products displayed on advertising in stadiums, and drinks on press conference tables. McDonald’s has been a sponsor of the Euros before, as well as World Cups, the Olympics and Paralympics.
It’s a difficult puzzle to solve because, while athletes like Cristiano Ronaldo don’t want to promote food and drinks that aren’t part of a healthy diet, the money that sponsors pay is important. Not only does their cash help pay for sporting events to take place, but some of it is also used to fund local sport facilities and activities, which you might take part in.
England manager Gareth Southgate says it’s a balance: “I think there are lots of sponsors in sport and the impact of their money, at all levels, helps sport to function. Grassroots sport in our country requires investment and without some of those companies it would be very difficult to have the facilities we need.
“We’re mindful in our country of obesity and health but everything can be done in moderation, and anything that is done in moderation is rarely a problem.”
The advertising and promotion of unhealthy food and drinks, high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS), is banned in the UK during children’s TV programming and, you might have noticed, First News does not allow advertising of this kind.
The UK Government is also bringing in a total ban on online adverts for HFSS products by the end of 2022, as well as extending the ban on TV ads for any HFSS foods before 9pm. But what do you think?