23 November 2011
Uefa has welcomed a decision by the Ukrainian authorities to make attempts to prohibit the killing of stray dogs in the country in the run-up to Euro 2012.
As the Uefa article linked here says: ‘Uefa has acknowledged the measures announced by the government of Ukraine to immediately stop and prohibit the killing of stray dogs and is looking forward to their successful implementation…
‘Following several encounters between UEFA and the Ukrainian authorities, the environment minister of Ukraine, Mykola Zlochevsky, officially announced earlier this month an immediate ban on the killing of stray dogs. The Ukrainian authorities also informed that animal shelters would be built and that animals that could not be housed there would be sterilised before being released.’
The Ukrainian authorities acted after pressure from Uefa, who in turn acted after pressure from anti-cruelty groups, and major sponsors.
It is interesting to note that one of those sponsors is Coca-Cola, who made a statement this week on the subject. For some reason the link to that statement is now broken, although a link to the cache is here.
The statement said: ‘The Coca-Cola system cares for the welfare of animals and supports the proper treatment of animals. We are affected by the incident and understand the outrage the situation has caused, as Coca-Cola is strictly against all forms of animal cruelty.
‘We are in dialogue with the Uefa, the organizer of the European Football Championship 2012 and we are sensitive to the concerns people have about the actions that have been taken in Ukraine to control the number of stray dogs….
‘Coca-Cola has been an official partner of the UEFA since 1988. Our sponsorship aims at supporting football and, in doing so, making the sport more attractive for viewers while uniting millions of people at the same time. Coca-Cola acts responsibly towards our business partners, as well as society as a whole, and adhering to ethical and moral standards is indispensable to all our activities.’
And yet last week, when one of the leading stories in world football were the comments of Sepp Blatter – that racism on a football pitch could be settled with the shake of a hand – Coca-Cola were silent.
They were even specifically asked for a comment on the matter by Sam Wallace, chief football correspondent of the The Independent newspaper, who wrote a column on Fifa’s sponsors’ attitude to racism. They didn’t respond. That column is linked here.