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We can’t blame Ronaldo and Pogba for press conference actions – NFF chief Akinwunmi

18:53 BST 16/06/2021
Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal Euro 2020
The Portugal and France stars have got people talking after they removed bottles of commercial brands before talking to the press

The first Vice-president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Seyi Akinwunmi has stated Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Pogba should not be blamed for their press conference actions if there are no commercial rules at Euro 2020.

Ronaldo and Pogba have dominated social media with their reactions at separate press conferences, where they removed branded items of sponsors before talking to the media.  

Before scoring a brace in Portugal's 3-0 victory over Hungary, Ronaldo removed two bottles of Coca-Cola from his table and raised a bottle of water instead.

In Munich, Pogba mimicked the former Manchester United forward after France’s 1-0 defeat of Germany on Tuesday night as he moved away the bottle of Heineken away from his presence but had no problem with Coca-Cola and water.

When asked about the effects of the players’ reactions on future partnerships, Akinwunmi - a seasoned football administrator - pointed out the importance of enlightening players of commercial rules before any tournament.

“I think before tournaments, players should be briefed on the rules of the tournament, including commercial rules,” Akinwunmi told Goal.

“I don't know if Uefa have any commercial rules for the tournament. If the commercial rules are against that aspect of game and they have been briefed, of course, they must be punished. However, if the commercial rules are not clear or individuals were not briefed, definitely if I say I don't subscribe to alcohol then I can't sit down behind an alcohol bottle.

“Although it might be another way round, because you are playing in a competition that Heineken sponsors but I think it boils down to what the commercial situation is. I can't fault them unless I know something about their commercial rules.”

Akinwunmi described the reaction of the business market to such an off-field incident as another point that stresses the value of football.

He added: “I think it is clear and we must be fooling ourselves if we are saying that we don't understand the value of sports and football in particular.

“The value of football cannot be underestimated and it has been shown by these events with the market reaction.”