The Euro 2020 organiser will not say if footballers can give secular reasons for withholding their apparent endorsement for a beer brand in press conferences.
The freedom was clearly given to religious believers last week after Paul Pogba (pictured), a Muslim, publicly set aside a bottle of Heineken 0.0 in a press conference a fortnight ago.
The Heineken 0.0 brand can be easily mistaken for its alcoholic sister product which means that appearing to endorse one can unwittingly promote the other.
The Euro 2020 organiser UEFA confirmed to Alcohol Review that players and managers can give religious reasons to have Heineken 0.0 bottles removed from in front of them in press conferences.
The objection it says needs to be made “owing to religious beliefs”. It is currently unclear if the same freedom is available to those objecting to the placement for secular reasons, like a wish to support football fans in adopting healthy lifestyles.
“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. We have no further comment,” UEFA replied.
Limiting freedoms to just one religious group or belief system is “an affront to human dignity and a disavowal of the principles of the Charter of the UN”, the UN says in a 1981 declaration on intolerance and discrimination.
The Heineken 0.0 bottles may disappear from some press conference tables but will still appear on the wall of logos behind and also features prominently during games. This is of concern to health advocates of all backgrounds. ■