Sports & Entertainment
Charges dropped in World Cup miniskirt case
  • | AFP | June 23, 2010 03:25 PM

Charges were dropped Tuesday against two Dutch women arrested at a World Cup match for wearing short orange dresses made by a brewery that FIFA says was "ambush marketing".

Dutch fans enjoy the atmosphere ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Group E match between Netherlands and Denmark at Soccer City Stadium on June 14, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
(Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images)

"The charges have been dropped. FIFA indicated that they have no interest in proceeding with the matter," said Mthunzi Mhaga, spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority.

Prosecutors dropped the case after the football governing body and Dutch brewery Bavaria reached a settlement in the case, he said.

"All parties have agreed to drop any claims and also not to make any further comments related to this matter," FIFA and Bavaria said in a joint statement.

"Bavaria NV has agreed to fully respect the integrity of FIFA's commercial programme until the end of the year 2022," it said, without elaborating.

Barbara Castelein and Mirte Nieuwpoort were accused by FIFA of orchestrating a campaign that brought 36 women in orange mini-dresses to the Denmark-Netherlands match in Johannesburg on June 14.

The dresses in the Dutch national colour were made by Bavaria Beer, and FIFA complained that the stunt defied its strict marketing rules that only allow its official sponsor Budweiser to advertise at World Cup events.

The women were detained during the match and taken to a FIFA office, where they say they were questioned for hours.

Most of the women were eventually released, but FIFA filed charges against two Dutch women who it says orchestrated the campaign.

The women appeared in a South African court on June 16, where they were released on bail and required to surrender their passports.

"We are happy to go home and that the situation has been resolved," Castelein and Nieuwpoort said in a statement.

Their arrests had sparked a diplomatic row with Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen condemning FIFA's handling of the incident, saying it was "absurd" that the pair had been arrested and charged.

He called on FIFA to target the company involved rather than "ordinary citizens walking around in orange dresses."

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