Interview with Zafar Abbas Jafri, Director Public Affairs and Communication Coca-Cola Beverages Pakistan Limited.
Q.1: Why is Coca-Cola supporting football and what is the background of Coca-Cola’s affiliation with football globally?
The Coca-Cola Company is one of the longest-standing corporate partners of FIFA, the world governing body for football. The Company has a formal association with FIFA since 1974, and an official sponsorship of FIFA World Cup™ that began in 1978.
In November 2005, FIFA and The Coca-Cola Company extended their long-time partnership for another 16 years, from 2007 until 2022. The renewed commitment by Coca-Cola supports a broad spectrum of FIFA-organized events around the globe, including the FIFA World Cup™, FIFA Women’s World Cup, FIFA U-20 World Cup, FIFA U-17 World Cup, FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, FIFA Club World Cup, FIFA Interactive World Cup, FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, FIFA
U-17 Women’s World Cup, FIFA Futsal World Cup, and the FIFA Confederations Cup.
Coca-Cola also continues to sponsor the closely watched FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking for men’s national teams and FIFA Women’s World Ranking.
So as you can see Coca-Cola has a very comprehensive association with football globally and in line with this, CCBPL is also supporting football in Pakistan.
Q.2: What steps has Coca-Cola taken to promote football in Pakistan?
Coca-Cola has a mission to promote healthy active lifestyle, and promoting a team sport like football is the practical side of this mission. For some years already we have been organizing football events and tournaments with the collaboration of different football clubs. Earlier, a similar type of event as the present one was organized in Karachi with the collaboration of Karachi United. In future we are also looking forward to working with football clubs in other cities.
Q.3: How will these efforts help the local communities especially in Multan?
In the present scenario of the country, we have tried to bring happiness amongst the people of Multan. This event has provided an opportunity to celebrate the country’s Independence anniversary in a very different style. Additionally, these activities are totally in line with Coca-Cola’s vision of promoting a healthy lifestyle and sharing happiness.
Q.4: Do you have any support from the Government; if not then kindly suggest how can government play its role to promote football in Pakistan?
Yes, the local governments have always supported us in organizing such events and we are grateful for same. For the present tournament also, the district government of Multan is fully supporting us in organizing this league. Previously, for the tournament in Karachi, the Karachi Administration also gave us excellent support, especially in terms of arranging security for organizing the event in Lyari.
Q.5: Why has CCBPL chosen Multan to organize this league instead of Lahore or Islamabad and are there any plans for CCBPL to expand this league to other cities?
Multan is a historic city of Pakistan in which we also have a bottling plant. Our previous tournament was organized in Karachi and now we have moved to southern Punjab. In the future we will be looking at organizing similar tournaments in other cities of the country also. We are looking at tournaments both at club level and at inter-collegiate level.
Q.6: What are the problems, if any that CCBPL is facing in organizing this league?
As such as we have faced no serious problems, and the cooperation has been excellent from both the civil administration and the participating teams. Of course there are always unexpected issues that arise but we are confident that we are well-prepared to handle any eventuality.
Q.7: Besides support to football, what other activities does CCBPL carry out as part of its corporate social responsibility?
In recent years CCBPL’s CSR activities have been diverse in nature. These have included support to other sports as well, relief supplies to affectees of natural disasters like the earthquake in Balochistan last year, collaboration with the Punjab Forestry Department for large-scale tree plantation to preserve the natural environment, capacity building of thousands of retailers through structured training and support to women empowerment