Africa

World Cup Dutch 'beer stunt' charges dropped

Dutch women fans at the match against Denmark in Soccer City, Johannesburg, 14 June
Image caption More than 30 women were ejected from the stadium because of the dresses

South African prosecutors have dropped charges against two Dutch women accused of a marketing stunt at the World Cup.

The pair were arrested last week at the match between Denmark and the Netherlands.

They were accused of "ambush marketing" by wearing orange mini-dresses associated with a Dutch brewery and breaking strict Fifa marketing rules.

The Dutch foreign minister strongly condemned the arrests.

"The charges have been dropped. Fifa indicated that they have no interest in proceeding with the matter," said National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga.

"They reached an agreement with Bavaria Beer company," he said.

'Outrageous'

Under South African laws brought in after it was chosen to host the football tournament, the women could have been sentenced to prison terms by special World Cup courts.

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

The case has 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.

With a large chunk of Fifa's revenue coming from selling World Cup marketing rights, it vigorously pursues anyone who tries to associate itself with the tournament, reports the BBC's Jonah Fisher from Johannesburg.

Earlier this year a local low-cost airline was forced to withdraw an advertising campaign that boasted it was the "Unofficial National Carrier of the You-Know-What".

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