Row over Dutch World Cup dresses

RNW archive

This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011, the Dutch government decided to cut funding and shift RNW from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW Media’s current activities can be found at https://www.rnw.org/about-rnw-media.

A group of 36 Dutch women were arrested in Johannesburg on Monday because they were wearing the wrong dresses.

FIFA officials discovered them in the Soccer City stadium and reported them to police after the Holland-Denmark duel. The girls wore orange minidresses, so-called Dutch Dresses, supplied by Bavaria brewery, a competitor of FIFA's official sponsor Budweiser. The officials acted against the Bavaria girls on the basis of the contract with Budweiser, which stipulates that other beer brands are not allowed to advertise in the World Championship stadiums.

  • Two of the Bavaria-dressed women were re-arrested early on Wednesday morning. One of them, Barbara Castelein, told reporters that they expected to appear before a judge later in the day.
  • The Dutch Foreign Ministry has asked FIFA to explain what happened. The international football association said on Tuesday it would investigate. The Dutch embassy in Pretoria asked the South African authorities whether the women broke any laws, as alleged by FIFA, which is accusing them of "ambush marketing" by wearing Bavaria's orange dresses.

Students
Bavaria initially denied any involvement, claiming that the 36 women belonged to a student group who purchased the dresses and paid their own expenses, including the trip to South Africa. But Bavaria's Managing Director Peer Swinkels told reporters that he was appalled the Dutch Dress girls were arrested. "There is not even a brand name on those dresses, so what are we doing wrong? Since when are there clothing conventions during football matches?"

Mr Swinkels admitted that Bavaria had footed the bill for the Dutch Dress campaign. Barbara Castelein, a spokeswoman for the so-called Oranje Babes said they were shocked by FIFA's rough-shod handling of the case. "We were forcibly manhandled, some girls were covered in bruises. All of a sudden the action lost its innocence." They were held in police cells for four hours. Ms Castelein says the group was having second thoughts about a follow-up to the dress action.

 

Read more: Football and beer, a winning combination

 

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide