As thousands of fans gather in Frankfurt for the Group D decider between Holland and Argentina, FIFA’s legal team has launched an offensive against ambush marketing surrounding the game.
FIFA accused Dutch brewery Bavaria of ambush marketing after it provided football fans with thousands of bright orange lederhosen for Holland’s group match against Ivory Coast.
Tom Houseman, head of legal affairs at FIFA Marketing and Television, wrote a scathing cease and desist letter to Bavaria CEO Peer Swinkels the day after the match, to stop further breaches of FIFA’s IP.
Houseman wrote that Bavaria’s marketing push threatened to undermine FIFA’s relationship with the 15 official partners of the World Cup: “Without the support of our commercial partners, it simply would not be possible to stage events on the scale of the FIFA World Cup without being obliged to resort to public funds, so it is entirely natural that we seek to ensure that the rights of our sponsors are protected.”
Houseman also denied claims that FIFA infringed human rights by forcing fans to watch the match in their underwear: “Those spectators wearing neither shorts nor trousers under their “Leeuwenhose” were permitted to gain entry without being required to remove the items.”
FIFA stadium officials in Stuttgart made the supporters take the lederhosen off before entering the ground.