Soccer Player Gets World Cup Suspension For Underwear Ambush
Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner has been banned for one match and fined €100,000 by UEFA for what it is calling "improper conduct" following the celebration around his game tying goal at last week's Group B match against Portugal. The suspension applies to the next 2014 FIFA World Cup match, including the qualifying competition, for which Bendtner is eligible.
Following the stunt, Paddy Power, ran a marketing campaign around Bendtner's "lucky pants" and has been milking the attention around what it's terming "pantsgate" via it's Facebook and Twitter accounts using the #POWERPANTS hashtag.
Naturally, Bendtner's sponsor, Paddy Power, which has no doubt benefited from the added attention announced that it was appalled by UEFA's action. Despite that
"This is a hysterical and deeply cynical move by UEFA dictated by pure commercialism and is a far greater penalty than recent UEFA fines for far more serious incidents," the company said in a statement on its website.
“We pride ourselves on listening to our customers and what we heard loud and clear yesterday was that Nicklas Bendtner should not suffer as a result of UEFA’s double standards," Ken Robertson, Paddy Power’s Head of Mischief explained. "We don’t believe that Nicklas should be penalised for nothing more serious than wearing his lucky underpants which in fairness was only a bit of fun.”
In addition to running afoul of UEFA's ambush rules, Bendtner also rankled his own team's official betting sponsor, Ladbrokes, which is a competitor to Paddy Power, and reportedly expressed its displeasure with the incident to the Denmark Football Association.
Bendtner says he plans to appeal the fine and suspension.