Harry Kane opted not to follow the lead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Pogba as he kept the Coca Cola bottles firmly in place at a pre-match press conference on Thursday.
The England captain fielded questions from reporters alongside boss Gareth Southgate ahead of England’s clash with Scotland, but decided not to move the bottles positioned in front of him, unlike his fellow superstars at Euro 2020.
Portugal talisman Ronaldo caused a stir earlier this week when he moved two Coke bottles out of view, while making clear his preference for “Agua” (water).
The fact the water he was holding up was also manufactured by the same brand seemed to escape his attentions, but his opposition to the sugary drinks was clear all the same.
Coca Cola are one of the main sponsors of the tournament and have paid to have their products front and centre at press conferences involving star names.
France midfielder Pogba soon followed suit with two bottles of Heineken beer – another of the main sponsors – although for differing reasons.
The 28-year-old is a practicing Muslim and his religion forbids drinking alcohol, though the bottles he removed were Heineken’s 0% alternative.
Italy’s Manuel Locatelli also got rid of the Coke bottles, but with the spotlight on Kane, the England striker was happy to keep the sponsors happy.
Southgate was first to offer his view, stating: “I think there are lots of sponsors in sport and the impact of their money at all levels helps sport to function, particularly 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.
“I understand the concerns that people have. Obviously the two guys [Ronaldo and Pogba] have different rationale to the stances they took but there’s always a bigger picture.”
Who will win between England and Scotland? Make your score predictions below.
Kane added: “I totally agree. Obviously the sponsors are entitled to what they want if they’ve paid the money to do so.
“It’s not something I’ve thought too much about. I’ve seen it go round on social media but if I’m totally honest I’m more focused on tomorrow [England’s match vs Scotland] than anything like that.”
UEFA have now warned players participating in the tournament that they could be fined if any others repeat the same response.
Organisers for Euro 2020 said: “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.”
Tournament director Martin Kallen also revealed players had it written in their respective contracts with their own governing bodies.
“We are never fining players directly from the Uefa side, we will do this always through the participating national association and then they could look if they will go further to the player, but we are not going directly for the moment to the player,” Kallen said, via BBC.
“We have the regulations signed by the participating federations.”
Buy the official EURO 2020 Tournament Programme with a special Wembley London cover now: