An ambush marketing stunt by an events company on behalf of a Dutch brewer, Bavaria Beer, has led to further embarrassment for ITV and the South African FIFA World Cup organisers.
FIFA ejected 36 women, guerrilla marketers scantily dressed in orange mini-dresses, who had infiltrated the Holland v Denmark fixture in Soccer City, Johannesburg.
A FIFA spokesman said: “Several young South African women were used by a large Dutch brewery as an instrument for an ambush marketing campaign. This company has a long history of trying ambush marketing tactics at sports events.”
Football’s governing body fiercely protects its lucrative sponsorship contracts and ambush marketing is banned. Budweiser is the only beer company allowed to advertise within the stadiums at the World Cup in South Africa.
A Bavaria Beer spokesman said the company had not yet decided whether to do any more such stunts.
Further controversy was added when ITV sacked one of its pundit, ex-footballer Robbie Earle, amidst allegations he had supplied up to 200 tickets to a third party agency.
The Times newspaper reports a preliminary investigation indicated that a block of ITV tickets would appear to have been used for unauthorised purposes during the Holland v Denmark match. It is thought part of the allocation ended up with the orange Bavarian Beer ladies.
The controversy follows ITV cutting to an advertisement as Steven Gerrard scored England’s opening goal. The episode follows a similar incident when Everton scored a late winner against rivals Liverpool in February 2009.