Police arrest women in Dutch orange dresses
Thirty six women who attended a Fifa World Cup match dressed in Dutch orange mini-dresses were detained by police over claims they were advertising for an unofficial beer company.
The Dutchy dress was handed out in a promotion by Dutch beer firm Bavaria in the run-up to the tournament and worn by hundreds of women to the Netherlands’ match against Denmark in Johannesburg’s Soccer City on Monday.
But a group of women was approached during the match by a Fifa official who accused them of ambush-marketing and told them either to leave the stadium or be thrown out.
Official sponsor Budweiser is the only beer company allowed to advertise within Fifa venues and Fifa fiercely protects its lucrative marketing interests.
The women claimed that they were simply supporting their country but Fifa said they were South Africans hired to wear the dresses by Bavaria.
A police source told The Daily Telegraph: “It looked quite premeditated – someone paid them money, bought their tickets and sent them in there.”
When the women refused to leave the stadium, they were forcibly removed by stewards and taken to a Fifa office where they claim they were interrogated for three hours and threatened with six month in prison.
One of those detained, Barbara Kastein, said she was astonished by Fifa’s reaction to the dress, which shot to fame after it was modelled by Dutch WAG Sylvie van der Vaart, the wife of Real Madrid player Rafael van der Vaart.
"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.
"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,” she said.
She said the women were held for more than three hours before they were driven back to their hotel where police took copies of their passports.
"They said they would sue me,” she said. “All of this for wearing an orange dress."
Colonel Vishnu Naidoo, a spokesman for the South African Police Service, said it was now considering whether to prosecute the women.
“They were questioned for 45 minutes to an hour,” he said. “They were lucky it was only that long – we could have held them for 48 hours. Ambush marketing is a serious offence.”
A Fifa spokesman said Bavaria had a “long history” of ambush marketing at sporting events and it was clear the girls had been put up to wearing the dresses.
“The Dutch brewery in question has hired a South African events company to select around 30 South African young women who looked like they were Dutch,” it said in a statement. “These young women were used for this marketing stunt performed at a FIFA World Cup Match to promote the Dutch beer Bavaria.”
Four years ago in Germany, Dutch fans wearing Bavaria-branded orange lederhosen were told to take the outfit off at soccer matches, resulting in many attending the games in their underwear.
Peer Swinkels, from Bavaria beer, said people “should have the right to wear what they want”.
“The Dutch people are a little crazy about orange and we wear it on public holidays and events like the World Cup,” he said. "This time we put no branding on the dress. And Fifa don't have a monopoly over orange."