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Fashion police

June 17, 2010

FIFA has brought charges over 36 women who wore the same orange dress to a world cup match - but not against the women wearing the dresses.

two women wearing orange dresses outside a stadium
Orange dresses are not allowed by FIFA, at least not in large numbersImage: AP

FIFA, the international governing association for soccer, has pressed charges against the organizers of a marketing effort in which 36 women dressed in identical orange dresses, ostensibly to promote a Dutch rival to the official World Cup beer.

The women were detained by police during the World Cup match between the Netherlands and Denmark. Two appeared in court and were released on bail, subject to their appearance in court next week.

However, FIFA says it will only bring charges against the Dutch Bavaria brewery which distributed the dresses.

"We have made charges against the organisers of the ambush marketing, not against the young women who were involved. The police is still investigating the case," FIFA spokesman Nicholas Maingot told a press briefing Thursday.

Don't mess with FIFA

Budweiser is an official sponsor and the only beer company permitted to display its advertising in the stadium - a privilege for which it pays heavily. FIFA is notoriously protective of its lucrative marketing interests.

Fifa also stopped a private South African airline from advertising itself as "The Unofficial National Carrier of the You-Know-What."

It is not the first time the practice of ambush marketing has been an issue at soccer matches: Four years ago in Germany, fans wearing Lederhosen-style pants sponsored by Bavaria beer were told to take off the pants.

Sarah Harman (dpa,AFP)
Editor: Michael Lawton