When the Arsenal and Denmark striker celebrated his goal against Portugal, UEFA was not impressed and imposed a hefty fine. But what was the betting chain’s reaction and what was the legal basis of the penalty? Nick Johnson reports.
Topic: Ambush marketing
Who: Nicklas Bendtner, Union des Associations Européennes de Football (UEFA)
When: June 2012
Law stated as at: 5 July 2012
Arsenal and Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner was fined €100,000 and banned for one competitive game after showing the top of his underpants – featuring the branding of bookmakers Paddy Power – when celebrating his goal against Portugal during the Euro 2012 championship.
Governing body UEFA charged Bendtner with improper conduct under FIFA’s Laws of the Game. Law Four states, amongst other things: “if undershorts or tights are worn, they must be of the same main colour as the shorts”.
Bendtner claimed “It is just a pair of lucky boxer shorts that I used in the first game as well and have used before the tournament. I didn’t know I was breaking any rules.” Not so lucky, some may say, bearing in mind what they ended up costing him. However arguably things didn’t turn out so badly for the Danish striker: the Irish betting chain reportedly offered to pay his fine after being inundated with messages suggesting they should pick up the tab.
Why this matters:
The case shows just how seriously the organisers of large international sporting events take activities that they regard as ambush marketing, and illustrates well the financial risks taken on by those who dare to display a non-sponsor brand.
Many have of course also commented on the fact that Bendtner’s fine for a brief flash of underwear was higher than the €80,000 fine UEFA imposed in the same tournament against Croatia for its supporters’ appalling racist chanting and behaviour and flare-throwing during its match with Italy.