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Dutch women bailed after WCup ambush marketing

world Updated: Jun 16, 2010 19:13 IST

Two Dutch women were released on bail on Wednesday after facing charges that they broke a law covering ambush marketing by wearing minidresses promoting a brewery at a World Cup match.

The women are being prosecuted under the Contravention of Merchandise Marks Act, which prevents companies benefiting from an event without paying for advertising.

South African police arrested the women at their hotel in the Johannesburg district of Roodepoort on Wednesday, two days after they were questioned at the Netherlands-Denmark game.

They appeared at Johannesburg Magistrates Court and were released on bail of 10,000 rand ($1300) each, with their next court appearance set down for June 22.

"We view ambush marketing in a very serious light and we urge people not to embark on these ambush campaigns," police said in a statement.

The women were among a group of more than 30 Dutch women who attended Monday's match at Soccer City wearing dresses paid for by brewery company Bavaria. They said they were ordered from the stadium by FIFA officials.

The Netherlands' Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Verhagen was quoted by De Telegraaf newspaper as saying the arrest was disproportionate and senseless.

"If South Africa or FIFA want to go after a company for an illegal advertising campaign, they should start a legal case against the company and not against ordinary citizens who are walking around in an orange dress," Verhagen was quoted to say.

The report said the Dutch Embassy in South Africa was offering the two women consular support.

FIFA on Wednesday condemned the "illicit activity."

"FIFA has filed charges against the organizers of the ambush marketing stunt pulled during the Netherlands versus Denmark match in Soccer City," FIFA spokesman Nicolas Maingot said.

"The matter is now under criminal investigation, and the South African Police Service is proceeding as per the normal legislation."