Level 1 | Level 2 | Level 3 | Answers

The European Championship commonly referred to as the “Euros”, is the second biggest football tournament in the world after the Fifa World Cup. Unlike the World Cup, which features teams from around the world, the Euros only features teams from Europe. The popularity of European teams and players means it is watched by vast numbers of people. 300 million people watched the Euro 2016 final. The current Euro 2020 tournament is taking place one year late after being delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s tournament is taking place across Europe and is one of the first events in Europe to allow spectators. Most matches consist of around 1/3rd of the audience that is normally allowed in a stadium.

The massive popularity of the Euros means it is one of the most sponsored events in the world. The Euros generate around €2 billion in revenue, of which roughly €500 million is estimated to come from the 10 biggest sponsorship partners. UEFA, the association that organises the Euros, the Champions League and oversees European football, distributes hundreds of millions of euros generated by the tournament to players and teams throughout the game. As such, the football federations in each country sign contracts with UEFA which include honouring the sponsorship agreements. All players and teams that play under a country’s federation, including their national team, are required to follow the terms that the national federation agrees to with UEFA. This generally includes obligations such as giving press conferences before and after matches.

The press conferences are attended by the media, but they aren’t generally watched by the average person. The media use press conferences to get quotes and videos from players and managers. The players and managers sit in front of a wall that has the logos of the biggest sponsors and in some cases, there are sponsored drinks on the table in front of the interviewees. Cristiano Ronaldo went viral across social media when he got to his press conference. As he sat down at the table, he noticed two bottles of Coca-Cola in front of him and the camera. Looking at the bottles unpleasantly, he picked them up and moved them off the table, then held up his bottle of water and said “Water!” in Portuguese, implying that people should drink water instead of Coca-Cola. Ronaldo’s actions made news around the world and quickly spread across social media. This then prompted more players to do the same. Paul Pogba, who plays for France and Manchester United, removed a bottle of Heineken beer from his table before his press conference. It is believed that he did this because he is Muslim and drinking alcohol is generally not allowed within his religion, even though the beer that he removed was a non-alcoholic beer. Over the next few days, other players removed Coca-Cola in favour of water too. In jest, the manager of Russia made light of the situation by drinking the Coca-Cola on his table in front of the cameras.

The increase in players removing the drinks has caused UEFA to send out a warning to players and teams. They warned players and teams that they have to stop removing the drinks because it is part of their contractual obligation to support the sponsors during the tournament. They said that the revenue gained from sponsorships is part of what makes the tournament possible and that the players’ actions are putting that revenue in jeopardy. A UEFA representative said they understand removing a drink if it is for religious reasons but that otherwise, players and teams need to ensure that they follow their contracts. UEFA said that if the players continue to go against the sponsors, they could be forced to fine the players, teams or national football federations that the players are from.

Difficult words

Vast (adj): Of very great extent or quantity.

Spectator (n): A person watching an event.

Sponsor (n/v): A person or company who financially supports an event in exchange for advertisement.

Federation (n): An organisation or group.

Press (n): Newspapers, journalists, the media.

Implying (v): To indicate or suggest something without saying it.

Jest (n/v): A thing said or done in amusement, a joke.

Contractual (adj): Previously agreed in a contract, must be done.

Jeopardy (n): Danger of loss, harm or failure.

Activities

For listening practise, listen to the recorded article here:

American English Audio:

Match the Synonym!

1. VastA. Organisation
2. SpectatorB. Extensive
3. SponsorC. Suggest
4. FederationD. Danger
5. PressE. Observer
6. ImplyingF. Joke
7. JestG. Mandatory
8. ContractualH. Media
9. JeopardyI. Patron

True or False?

1. The Euros is the most popular football tournament in the world. T / F

2. More than 200 million people watched the Euro 2016 final. T / F

3. UEFA organises every World Cup.T / F

4. Football players do not need to follow the sponsorship agreements that their countries agree to. T / F

5. Press conferences are commonly held before and after football matches. T / F

6. Most viewers customarily watch football press conferences. T / F

7. Sponsored drinks are never featured in press conferences. T / F

8. Cristiano Ronaldo fervently supports drinking coca-cola. T / F

9. Drinking alcohol is not generally allowed in the Muslim religion. T / F

10. UEFA has said players cannot remove drinks under any circumstances. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. taking / place / late / one / year / Euro 2020 / The / is / tournament / current

2. across / Europe / This / place / tournament / year’s / is / taking

3. massive / most sponsored / of / The / the Euros / means / popularity / one / the / it / of / events / is

4. across / press / Cristiano Ronaldo / got / to / conference / socia lmedia / when / he / went / his / viral

5. the / too / of / Over / in / favour / other / removed Coca-Cola / next / players / few days, / water

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

American English Audio:

ObligationsReferredSponsorships
EstimatedConsistEnsure
ConferenceGenerallyInterviewees

The European Championship commonly (1)____________ to as the “Euros”, is the second biggest football tournament in the world after the Fifa World Cup. Unlike the World Cup, which features teams from around the world, the Euros only features teams from Europe. The popularity of European teams and players means it is watched by vast numbers of people. 300 million people watched the Euro 2016 final. The current Euro 2020 tournament is taking place one year late after being delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s tournament is taking place across Europe and is one of the first events in Europe to allow spectators. Most matches (2)___________ of around 1/3rd of the audience that is normally allowed in a stadium.

The massive popularity of the Euros means it is one of the most sponsored events in the world. The Euros generate around €2 billion in revenue, of which roughly €500 million is (3)___________ to come from the 10 biggest sponsorship partners. UEFA, the association that organises the Euros, the Champions League and oversees European football, distributes hundreds of millions of euros generated by the tournament to players and teams throughout the game. As such, the football federations in each country sign contracts with UEFA which include honouring the sponsorship agreements. All players and teams that play under a countries federation, including their national team, are required to follow the terms that the national federation agrees to with UEFA. This generally includes (4)_____________ such as giving press conferences before and after matches.

The press conferences are attended by the media, but they aren’t (5)_____________ watched by the average person. The media use press conferences to get quotes and videos from players and managers. The players and managers sit in front of a wall that has the logos of the biggest sponsors and in some cases, there are sponsored drinks on the table in front of the (6)______________. Cristiano Ronaldo went viral across social media when he got to his press conference. As he sat down at the table, he noticed two bottles of Coca-Cola in front of him and the camera. Looking at the bottles unpleasantly, he picked them up and moved them off the table, then held up his bottle of water and said “Water!” in Portuguese, implying that people should drink water instead of Coca-Cola. Ronaldo’s actions made news around the world and quickly spread across social media. This then prompted more players to do the same. Paul Pogba, who plays for France and Manchester United, removed a bottle of Heineken beer from his table before his press (7)_____________. It is believed that he did this because he is Muslim and drinking alcohol is generally not allowed within his religion, even though the beer that he removed was a non-alcoholic beer. Over the next few days, other players removed Coca-Cola in favour of water too. In jest, the manager of Russia made light of the situation by drinking the Coca-Cola on his table in front of the cameras.

The increase in players removing the drinks has caused UEFA to send out a warning to players and teams. They warned players and teams that they have to stop removing the drinks because it is part of their contractual obligation to support the sponsors during the tournament. They said that the revenue gained from (8)_______________ is part of what makes the tournament possible and that the players’ actions are putting that revenue in jeopardy. A UEFA representative said they understand removing a drink if it is for religious reasons but that otherwise, players and teams need to (9)__________ that they follow their contracts. UEFA said that if the players continue to go against the sponsors, they could be forced to fine the players, teams or national football federations that the players are from.

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. What do you think of this story?
4. Is football popular in your country?
5. Have you been watching Euro 2020?
6. What do you think about players removing the drinks?
7. Do you think removing the drinks is damaging to the brands?
8. What do you think about the idea that players removing the drinks is actually better advertising for the companies?
9. Is soda or water more popular in your country?
10. Should UEFA fine the players if they continue to do this?
11. Is it better for players to be promoting healthy lifestyles instead of the sponsors?
12. Do you drink enough water?
13. Do you think the companies involved in this will be as angry as UEFA is?
14. What’s the most popular sporting event in your country?
15. What sport is your country best at?
16. Should Euro 2020 have been cancelled again because of COVID?
17. What do you think about spectators being allowed at Euro 2020 games?
18. Are spectators allowed at sports events in your country?
19. If Euro 2020 is held safely do you think other sports events will return to normal soon?
20. Should UEFA work with healthier sponsors in the future?