Soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo’s call for people to drink water blamed for $4B drop in Coca-Cola shares

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(NewsNation Now) — Officials with Euro 2020 asked players to stop removing sponsor bottles strategically placed in front of them during press conferences after star Cristiano Ronaldo started the trend earlier this week.

During a mandatory pre-game news conference Monday, Ronaldo hid two Coca-Cola bottles and replaced them with a water bottle, which was also one of the drink maker’s brands.

“Água!” Ronaldo said in Portuguese.

Throughout the day when Ronaldo made his remarks, Coca-Cola shares dropped from $56.17 to a low of $55.22, while continuing to trend down to $55.08 by Thursday. In total, the company’s market value dropped by nearly $5 billion to $237.3 billion from $242 billion.

The drop in Coca-Cola’s share price this week was attributed by some to Ronaldo’s snub, but without any evidence that the two things were connected. Coca-Cola is one of the official sponsors of the Euro 2020.

European soccer’s governing body UEFA responded to Ronaldo’s gesture by reminding teams they have contractual obligations towards tournament sponsors.

“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,” the tournament organizers said on Thursday.

A day after Ronaldo’s gesture, France midfielder Paul Pogba, who is a Muslim, removed a Heineken beer bottle from in front of him after France’s 1-0 victory over Germany.

Italy midfielder Manuel Locatelli also moved Coca-Cola bottles aside and placed a bottle of water in front of him before speaking to the press after his Man of the Match display in a 3-0 win against Switzerland on Wednesday.

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UEFA’s Euro 2020 tournament director Martin Kallen told reporters the contractual obligations regarding sponsors was part of the tournament regulations signed up to by the national federations.

UEFA has not taken any disciplinary action over the incidents and Kallen said any sanctions would be a matter for federations. UEFA would not directly fine players, he added.

The UEFA official did not however rule out punishments if there are further cases.

“We have regulations signed by the participating federations. We have reminded them of their obligations but of course this (fining) is always a possibility,” Kallen said. 

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