World Cup mini dress flap explodes

Two Dutch women have appeared in
court in South Africa over an alleged “ambush marketing” stunt at a
World Cup match. They were released on bail.

More than 30 women were ejected
from the Johannesburg stadium on Monday during the match between Denmark and
the Netherlands.

They were accused by Fifa of
breaking strict rules on World Cup marketing.

They had all been wearing identical
mini-dresses in Dutch orange, sold as part of a gift pack by a Dutch brewery.

The two women appeared in a
Johannesburg court under the Contravention of Merchandise Marks Act. They were
released on bail and ordered to return to court next Tuesday.

Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime
Verhagen called the criminal charges “disproportionate”.

“It is outrageous that the two
women have a jail term hanging over their heads for wearing orange dresses in a
football stadium,” he said in a statement.

“If South Africa or Fifa wants
to take a company to task for an illegal marketing action, they should start
judicial procedures against the company and not against ordinary citizens
walking around in orange dresses.”

The case has already led to the
sacking of English football commentator and former footballer Robbie Earle.

He was found to have passed on some
of the tickets used by the women from his allocation for friends and family, in
breach of Fifa rules, and was promptly sacked by employer ITV.

Fifa, the world footballing body,
said it had launched legal action against the Dutch brewery, Bavaria, but not
the women in question. It said it was up to the police how they should proceed.

Bavaria board member Peer Swinkels
said Fifa’s reaction was “ridiculous”.

“Fifa does not have the
monopoly on orange and people have the freedom to wear what they want,” he
said.