Author: Anton Johan
Gambling advertising is apparently not okay when you play for the Danish
national football team and you decide to flash the name of one of the world's
premier land and online betting and gaming companies printed on your boxer
shorts when you score a goal against Portugal during a crucial UEFA Euro 2012
match, that's when.
This is a lesson that Danish striker Nicklas Bendtner learned the hard way, when
his on-field publicity stunt (known as 'ambush marketing') last week in
association with Paddy Power went very wrong. While most fans who witnessed
Bendtner's shorts-dropping escapade laughed at the cheeky punt, UEFA
officials were anything but amused.
There is little doubt that Bendtner was expecting a slap on the hand for his
on-pitch antics, but even his most ardent critics could not have foreseen just
how extreme his punishment would turn out to be. This week, just a few days
after the Paddy Power underwear incident that took place last Wednesday, UEFA
issued a shocking statement.
Bendtner to Miss Denmark 2014 World Cup Qualifier
In it, Europe's football governing announced that it was going forward with
disciplinary actions against the Danish player in the form of an extremely steep
£80,000 fine and even more crushing, a one-match ban for his country, which will
see Bendtner miss Denmark's crucial opening 2014 World Cup qualifier.
Danish football fans were shocked to learn of Bendtner's fate, as was Paddy
Power, who upon hearing the news immediately rallied to his support, agreeing to
pay his £80k fine. The Irish betting firm issued a statement questioning UEFA's
heavy handed approach to what it saw as Bendtner simply displaying his 'lucky
Of course, everybody knows that Bendtner was paid big bucks to put the Paddy
Power brand out there. And that all parties involved thought no harm would come
of it considering the slew of gambling advertising already so prevalent on
stadium sidings, team shirts and even on television in some European countries.
And therein lies the point.
Why Did UEFA React About Paddy Power
These days you can barely switch on a TV without seeing the logo of some online
gambling giant staring back at you because gambling advertising is so common
across many parts of Europe. Which begs the question of why UEFA reacted the way
it did about the Paddy Power underwear incident?
It couldn't have had anything
to do with decency considering that Bendtner kept his shorts firmly on
throughout and only revealed the top few centimeters of his 'lucky' Paddy Power
boxers. So I believe it must have had something to do with the fact that UEFA
was out of the loop in terms of the sponsorship monies involved.
I think it smacks of hypocrisy that one form of gambling advertising is
accepted while another is harshly punished. In addition, it hasn't been lost on
football fans following this story that the Russian Football Federation has been
fined far lesser amounts during Euro 2012 for unruly behaviour by their fans,
including blatant racism.
Posted by Anton Johan at 11:35 on 20 June 2012