Brewer to support arrested Dutch women

AMSTERDAM - A Dutch brewer is providing legal and other assistance to the two Dutch women accused of pulling off a promotional stunt at the World Cup in Johannesburg, and said it would cancel promotional activities.

The two women were among a group of about three dozen who wore skimpy orange dresses in a suspected "ambush marketing" stunt by closely-held brewer Bavaria at a match between the Netherlands and Denmark at the Soccer City stadium on Monday.

"Unfortunately Bavaria has been drawn into the furore surrounding the arrest of the two ladies who were wearing an orange dress also worn by thousands of Dutch ladies and football supporters," the brewer said in a statement late on Wednesday.

"There is no way FIFA can hold these ladies responsible for their attendance at the match in their Dutch dress in Soccer City and Bavaria is currently doing everything in their power to assist the arrested Dutch ladies," Bavaria said, referring to World Cup organising federation FIFA.

Anheuser Busch's Budweiser is the official beer for the tournament and FIFA fiercely protects its sponsors from brands which are not its partners.

"Bavaria will ask FIFA to immediately stop intimidating Dutch dressed female supporters," the Dutch brewer said.

Bavaria has clashed with FIFA before over supporters wearing its orange clothes to stadiums.

Four years ago at the World Cup in Germany scores of Dutch men watched a match in their underwear after stewards ordered them to remove orange lederhosen bearing the name of Bavaria.

"We feel a bit used by Bavaria," said Cindy van Dieren, according to Dutch daily Telegraaf, citing one of the women wearing the dress.

Bavaria argued in its statement that its goal was to "generate pleasure and enthusiasm" among fans and that the dresses do not carry a "big brand name logo".

Bavaria is halting promotional activities related to the dress, a Bavaria spokeswoman said.

"In the interest of the women we will not do anything else," said the spokeswoman, declining to say what other activities the brewer had planned and adding that the cancellation was not due to FIFA pressure.

The women were released on 10,000 rand ($1,319) bail each on Wednesday and will face a hearing next week.

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