Dutch women get bail in marketing case

JOHANNESBURG - A South African court released two Dutch women accused of an illegal promotional stunt by a brewer at a World Cup match on 10,000 rand ($1,319) bail each on Wednesday and postponed the case for a week.

"Their passports were confiscated and their case has been postponed to June 22," said police spokesman Colonel Vish Naidoo.

The two were are linked to a suspected "ambush marketing" stunt by brewer Bavaria at a World Cup tie.

"These women, who have been part of a larger group, are suspected to be involved in organised acts to conduct unlawful commercial activities during the Denmark/Netherlands match on Monday," South African police said in a statement.

The arrests came after FIFA questioned a group of 36 women who were watching the match in Johannesburg's Soccer City stadium in skimpy orange dresses.

The dresses promoting family-owned Dutch brewer Bavaria caught the eye of legal experts on the lookout for ambush marketing campaigns.

Soccer's ruling body FIFA said at least two "coordinators" were flown in from the Netherlands to recruit and train locals for the stadium stunt. It said they disguised them as Danish fans to get them into the match and then used a "decoy group" to distract stewards.


Dutch officials said the arrest of the two women was "disproportionate."

"The Netherlands Minister of Foreign Affairs stated today that he thought that the arrests of the ladies were disproportionate and thinks that it's not correct that they might face jail time for wearing an orange dress to the football stadium," Dutch embassy spokesman Christophe Prommersberger told journalists outside the Johannesburg Magistrate court.

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

It has started legal proceedings against the Dutch brewer.

"FIFA has filed charges against the organiser of the ambush marketing stunt pulled between the Netherlands-Denmark match at Soccer City two days ago," spokesman Nicolas Maingot said at FIFA's daily news briefing.

FIFA's aggressive legal moves against any hint of ambush marketing against local companies made it unpopular with many South Africans before the tournament. The country has some of the world's most stringent laws on the issue.

South African police and justice authorities have moved rapidly to deal with cases related to the tournament, after setting up special courts to accelerate cases.

One of the courts on Saturday sentenced two men to 15 years each for robbing World Cup journalists from Portugal and Spain.

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

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

British TV pundit Robbie Earle has been sacked by ITV terrestrial television company after tickets found in the women's possession were traced back to the former Jamaica international.