C&C Group has branded as “discriminatory” a Polish law that bans cider sponsorship at sports events but not beer.

The Irish firm made the comments after Scottish football club Celtic, which is sponsored by C&C's Magners brand, was forced to change its strip for a match due to be played in Warsaw tonight. Celtic players lining up against Legia Warsaw in the Champion's League qualifier will instead wear shirts carrying the logo for C&C's beer brand Tennent’s.

Paul Condron, group marketing director at Magners, said: “We can see no rational or persuasive reason for cider to be treated differently from beer, other than to protect the interests of local beer brands.”  

The advertising of alcohol brands is generally prohibited in Poland, however beer can be promoted in and around Polish stadiums and on TV during sports events.

C&C said the policy contravened the company’s right to commercial expression under the European Convention on Human Rights.

This month, Heineken praised Russia's decision to roll back a ban on beer ads around sports events. The move was reportedly made because of the country's hosting of the World Cup in 2018.