Borås loses out in Uefa burger battle

Borås loses out in Uefa burger battle
Clay Irving/Max
Swedish fast food restaurant chain Max has decided to follow the will of the people and refuse to close during the U21 European Championships 2009. Uefa will now move the matches from Borås to another venue.

The battle which has pitted Swedish family-owned burger chain Max against the might of US giant McDonald’s, and European football body Uefa, has been going all spring. A final offer from Max offering a compromise was rejected by Uefa last week. Max then decided to let the people decide in an internet vote.

“Max does not really want to close at all, but wants the local people of Borås to decide the fate of the football festival. That is why you can vote on whether Max should stand its ground or bow to Uefa’s demands. Who will win? The ball is in your court!”

The people delivered a resounding verdict with 93 percent of the 22,000 readers of national newspaper stating that Max should keep its doors open.

But not everyone welcomed Max’s refusal to back down.

“If Max’s decision is final then they have cheated Borås residents out of this football festival,” said Karl-Erik Nilsson at the Swedish football association.

Uefa will now look for another venue to hold the matches scheduled for Borås. The other host cities in the tournament are Malmö, Helsinborg and Gothenburg.

“The organising committee will come up with another alternative, which we will present for the board. We meet next Thursday,” Nilsson said.

The Swedish football association has until August 22nd to come up with a suitable alternative for Uefa.

Under pressure from US burger giant McDonald’s, who is one of the European football body’s main sponsors, Uefa has been threatening all spring to move the matches if Max refused to close its outlet in the Borås Arena on match days.

Uefa also demanded that Max cover up their restaurant signs to minimise their presence.

Following a meeting with Borås council officials, Max agreed a compromise – to close its Borås Arena restaurant from three hours before kick off until an hour after the end of matches. Max planned to instead locate a couple of mobile kitchens some distance from the arena.

Uefa swiftly rejected this offer and demanded that Max close completely on match days.

Hans Forsman, head of tourism at Borås council, considers the whole episode to be regrettable.

“We have done a great deal of planning with the other cities and were expecting a fantastic tournament. This would have meant a great deal for the city,” Forsman said to news agency TT.