- By Clare SestanovichClare Sestanovich and Sylvie Stein are researchers at Foreign Policy.
It’s hard to imagine being criticized — much less punished — for taking World Cup spirit too far. Indeed, excess seems to be precisely the name of these games. For anyone who thinks their face-paint masterpieces are prize-worthy, the award for over-the-top aficionado has already been claimed by Sasa Jovic : armed only with a backpack, world map and, of course, his national flag, this Serbian ultra-fan embarked on a 10,000 mile walk to Pretoria to catch his home country’s match against Ghana. The Serbs lost 1-0. No word yet on whether Jovic arrived in time to witness defeat.
As it turns out, however, not every patriotic display is quite so praiseworthy. Thirty women were ejected from Monday’s Netherland-Denmark game for "ambush marketing" (a very "serious offense" according to the South Africa Police Service). Their fateful mistake? Too much color-coordination. The fans were caught cheering in identical orange mini-dresses distributed by the Dutch brewery, Bavaria. Under Fifa’s strict marketing rules for the Cup, only official sponsors are permitted to advertize at matches-and Budweiser is the only beer on tap at these games. The women, two of whom were summoned to Court on Wednesday (and then released on bail), insist they were just showing Dutch pride, but Fifa claims they were illegally paid to don Bavaria apparel.
The only question left: which is worse, paying your customers to flaunt your logo, or bribing foreigners to root for your team?