According to reports in South Africa, 36 female Dutch fans were ejected from the Netherlands-Denmark World Cup 2010 match at Soccer City on Monday and questioned by FIFA regarding alleged ‘ambush marketing’.
South African newspaper The Star claimed that the women were all dressed in orange mini-dresses that were part of a Bavaria beer promotion campaign back in the Netherlands.
FIFA doesn’t allow ambush marketing, a term that describes the promotional efforts of a company at an event at which it is not an official sponsor.
A spokesman from the company denied the charges and told the Johannesburg publication that the women had been held in a FIFA office for hours.
"It's a nice dress. Very fashionable,” Peer Swinkels, who pointed that there was no branding on the dress, told The Star."In my opinion, people should have the right to wear whatever they want. We launched the orange item on April 30 on the queen's birthday, which we call Queen's Day. The Dutch people are a little crazy about orange and we wear it on public holidays and events like the World Cup."
One of the dress-wearers, Barbara Kastein, told the newspaper her story.
"We were sitting near the front, making a lot of noise, and the cameras kept focusing on us," Kastein said. "We were singing songs and having a good time.
"In the second half, about 40 stewards surrounded us and forced us to leave the stadium. They pushed us up the stairs, and one of the girls fell."
Kastein said that the girls were questioned by FIFA and then the police.
"The police came and kept on asking us the same questions over and over, asking if we worked for Bavaria. They said we were ambush-marketing and it was against the law in South Africa. They said we would be arrested and would stay in jail for six months. Girls were crying. It was bad.
"A police van took us back to our hotel and they wanted my passport. They made a copy and said they would investigate. They said they would sue me. All of this for wearing an orange dress."
Bavaria beer has made headlines in the past. At the 2006 World Cup, fans who wore Bavaria-branded lederhosen at a game were told to remove their pants before entering the stadium.
"This time we put no branding on the dress," said Swinkels. "And FIFA don't have a monopoly over orange."
According to The Star, FIFA said there were no arrests and that "several young South African women were used by a large Dutch brewery as an instrument for an ambush-marketing campaign".