Fifa acts after 'ambush marketing' by Dutch brewery

Image caption,
The women were ejected from the stadium

Fifa is considering legal action against a Dutch brewery it accuses of using women fans to advertise its beer at the World Cup.

Stewards ejected 36 Dutch supporters from Monday's match between the Netherlands and Denmark midway through the second half in Johannesburg.

All were dressed identically in tightly hugging short orange dresses, sold as part of a gift pack by a Dutch brewery.

A brewery representative dismissed Fifa's concerns as "ridiculous".

The Cup's authorised beer is Budweiser which pays millions of dollars for the privilege.

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

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

'Clear ambush'

The women, seated near the front, were picked up by TV cameras.

"What seems to have happened is that there was a clear ambush marketing activity by a Dutch brewery company," said Fifa spokesman Nicholas Maingot.

"What we are doing actually at the moment is that we are looking into all available legal remedies against this brewery."

Mr Maingot said that none of the women had been arrested.

However, they were reportedly taken to a Fifa office where police quizzed them about the dresses and asked if they worked for the brewery, Bavaria.

Bavaria board member Peer Swinkels told Reuters news agency that 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.

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