Two Dutch women working for Netherlands beer company Bavaria were arrested for promoting a beer that is not an official World Cup sponsor during the World Cup Netherlands-Denmark match in South Africa on Monday. The women were part of a group of about 30 models wearing orange dresses, the so-called “Dutch Dress”, which are also sold as part of a gift pack by the Dutch beer brand (you can see many photos on the Bavaria flickr page).
All the women were ejected from the stadium during the match on Monday. The two Dutch women, who were considered the “leaders” of the campaign, were arrested early Wednesday morning and charged with merchandising offenses. They were released on a 10,000 Rand (around 1000 Euro) bail on Wednesday afternoon; and their case will be heard on 22 June. According to several news reports, they risk a six-month prison sentence for violating a law that prohibits unauthorised marketing activities in or near the World Cup stadiums.
The Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, Maxime Verhagen, commented on the case [nl] on his Twitter feed in reply to questions by Dutch Twitter users:
NL ambassade heeft Z-A om opheldering gevraagd, celstraf vanwege het dragen van oranje jurkjes is onzinnig @willemboele
He also suggested that FIFA battle it out in court [nl]:
Als FIFA een probleem heeft met oranje jurkjes kunnen ze dat juridisch uitvechten met het bedrijf, arrestatie is buiten proportie @edwinv73
Twitter user @edwinv73 replied [nl]:
@MaximeVerhagen het is wel goed voor de economie. Bavaria gaat wel nu wereld veroveren. Succes met het vrij krijgen
Some Twitter users, such as @SportKnowhowXL, ridiculed [nl] the whole situation:
Op verzoek van hoofdsponsor Hyundai heeft de #fifa besloten dat de Japanse ster Keisuke Honda niet meer aan het #wk2010 mag meedoen #bavaria
A special Twitter account has been set up to support the women and to post the latest news about their case: @freethebabes [nl].