‘Appalling’ scheme angers Fifa

Dutch brewery Bavaria flew in two co-ordinators from the

Netherlands to organise the “orange dress” ambush marketing campaign, world

football body Fifa said today.


The Fifa media desk said: “In this case, it has surfaced that at

least two co-ordinators were flown in from the Netherlands to organise this

ambush activity – they hired innocent local girls and devised a strategy.”


This included training the group of local girls before the

match.


Also, according to Fifa, the organisers’ strategy included:

“disguising them as Danish fans (covering their orange dresses) and using a

decoy group to divert the attention of Fifa and safety and security authorities

to another area while the big group entered the stadium through another side,

and then compelling them to lie to the police about the organisers’ involvement

in the activity.”


“They also obtained tickets from unauthorised sources,” said

Fifa.


Two Dutch women, Barbara Castelein and Mirte Nieuwpoort, appeared

in the Johannesburg Magistrates Court yesterday after a few dozen women, all

dressed in the same orange miniskirts, were taken in for questioning by the

police on Monday.


The orange miniskirts were handed out in Bavaria gift packs in the

Netherlands Holland ahead of the World Cup.


The pair face charges of contravening the SA Merchandise Marks

Act.


Yesterday, police could not say why only two women had been

arrested.


Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant reported online yesterday that it was

believed the two women arrested had their flight tickets and accommodation in

South Africa paid for by Bavaria, while the other South African women wearing

the dresses only seemed to have been hired for the day.


Fifa said: “Fifa has filed charges against the organisers of the

ambush marketing stunt pulled during the Netherlands vs Denmark match at Soccer

City. No charges have been filed against the young South African women used in

this illicit activity.”


Fifa said it had warned companies before the World Cup that South

Africa had legislation criminalising ambush marketing: “Fifa strongly

disapproves of companies who employ ambush marketing tactics to promote their

brands at big sporting events without having contributed to the organisation of

those events.


“Fifa wrote to a large number of companies before the tournament

drawing their attention to this specific South African legislation, to avoid any

unknowing infringements,” the world football governing body said.


Fifa said it was “appalled” that these companies “use innocent

people as a tool to conduct these unlawful activities”.


“Fifa is looking into all civil remedies available and will await

the outcome of the criminal case currently being run by the South African Police

Service.”


Bavaria is not a World Cup sponsor and Fifa has built up a

reputation for aggressively protecting the commercial interests of its sponsors.

 
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