Famous social movements are popping up in Europe that are protesting against mega rich energy companies such as Gazprom. These movements are forcing people to look for solutions and try to shed light on the damage these companies make. Huge banners have been set up in multiple European cities. These banners have also been seen in sports venues around Europe, mainly in soccer’s elite competition, the Champions League.
Greenpeace has decided to use soccer and more notably the Champions League because of its global outreach. Also, there are several teams playing in this elite competition as well, as the competition itself is directly sponsored by Gazprom. Their first protest was in October when FC Basel faced off against their German counterpart Schalke 04 in Basel Switzerland. The reason Greenpeace chose this game was that Schalke 04 is directly sponsored by Gazprom and their logo adorns the jersey.
A monumental banner was set up and lowered just as the match was about to start causing massive uproar. Their second attempt at broadcasting their message came today, they were able to hijack Real Madrid’s press conference ahead of their match against FC Copenhagen. About an hour into the press conference that included Real Madrid head coach Carlo Anchelotti and hardnosed defender Pepe, a banner was unveiled right behind the two men. It was more surprising to both the player and the coach as a monumental security breach than it came off as a public relations mess.
Soccer is the most famous sport in the world and is followed by billions of fans. It is not surprising that activist movements would target the sport and use it as a platform to spread their message. UEFA will probably have to think long and hard about who they chose as sponsors. Hopefully people can separate politics and sport so that the game we so love does not become a media battlefield.