Euro 2020 organisers will stop placing bottles of alcohol-free Heineken in front of Muslim players after Paul Pogba removed the tournament sponsor’s drink last week.
Now teams, managers and players will be asked beforehand whether they would object to having the bottles of Heineken 0.0 on the podium on religious grounds, as revealed by The Telegraph.
Consumption of alcohol is forbidden (or known as ‘haram’) among Muslims while The Qur’an says that alcohol’s potential for sin was ‘far greater’ than its benefits.
Pogba’s stance on one of Euro 2020’s beverage sponsors followed an incident where Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo removed bottles of Coca-Cola before his side’s opening game against Hungary.
The world superstar seemed annoyed at the presence of the fizzy drink in shot and put them to one side, before shouting ‘Drink Water!’ to the camera.
He then brandished a water bottle and placed it in front of himself for the remainder of the interview, muttering ‘Coca-Cola’ with noticeable disdain.
Devout Muslim Paul Pogba removed a Heineken bottle during his press conference last week
Now, UEFA officials have confirmed that players and managers will have a choice to object to speaking behind the bottles of alcohol-free beer on religious grounds
Notably, France striker Karim Benzema – who is also Muslim – did not have bottles of Heineken in front of him when speaking to the press on Wednesday night after winning the Star of the Match award (which is sponsored by Heineken) against Portugal.
Yet the Real Madrid man still spoke in front of advertising hoardings with the sponsor’s name on, as well as the individual trophy sponsored by Heineken.
UEFA warned players that they could be fined if they continued to shun sponsors and their drinks at press conferences, in what has been a running sideshow of the European Championships so far.
Despite the new rules, Europe’s governing body has made it clear that there is a difference between removing alcoholic drinks on religious grounds and shunning fizzy drinks due to personal approaches to health and fitness.
Pogba visited Mecca, Islam’s place of pilgrimage, with fellow countryman and Chelsea star Kurt Zouma two years ago, posting on Instagram: ‘Never forget the important things in life.’
Cristiano Ronaldo started the trend by removing two bottles of Coca Cola and replacing them with a bottle of water (right), saying: ‘Drink water!’
Pogba became a Muslim in 2019 and has travelled to Mecca, Islam’s holiest place of pilgrimage (left Pogba, right France and Chelsea player Kurt Zouma)
ISLAM AND ALCOHOL
Consumption of alcohol is forbidden (or known as ‘haram’) among Muslims.
Muslims abstain from drinking alcohol because the Prophet Muhammad, whom Muslims believe the word of God was revealed in the Qur’an, spoke against it.
The Qur’an says that alcohol’s potential for sin was ‘far greater’ than its benefits.
Ronaldo, one of the greatest footballers to have ever played the game, is notoriously fastidious about his diet and exercise regime.
Pogba, meanwhile, became a Muslim in 2019, according to the Manchester Evening News, describing the decision as making him more ‘peaceful inside’.
‘It’s everything. That’s what makes me thankful for everything,’ Pogba told The Times via MEN of his decision to embrace Islam.
‘It made me change, realise things in life. I guess, maybe, it makes me more peaceful inside.
‘It was a good change in my life because I wasn’t born a Muslim, even if my mum was. I just grew up like that, respect for everyone.
‘Islam is not the image that everyone sees – terrorism… What we hear in the media is really something else, it’s something beautiful.
‘You get to know it. Anybody can find that he feels connected with Islam. It came because I have a lot of friends who are Muslim. We always talk.
‘I was questioning myself in a lot of things, then I started doing my own research. I prayed once with my friends and I felt something different. I felt really good.’
World Cup winner Pogba has played a starring role for France so far at the Euros as they finished top of Group F – they will face Switzerland in the round-of-16 on Monday.
Pogba has so far played a starring role for France at the Euros, starting all three matches