Bendtner pants penalty draws comparisons with racism fines

Jun 19, 2012

Lineker and Ferdinand ask why a fine relating to corporate branding is more severe than penalties for racism

AFP/Getty Images

DENMARK’S Nicklas Bendtner was yesterday banned for one match and fined £80,000 for flashing the Paddy Power-branded waistband of his underpants while celebrating a goal during Denmark’s game against Portugal last Wednesday.  

"This suspension applies to the next 2014 Fifa World Cup match, including the qualifying competition, for which Bendtner is eligible," a statement said on the Union of European Football Associations website.

Uefa Law 4, which covers 'the players' equipment' states: "Players must not reveal undershirts which contain slogans or advertising. A player removing his jersey to reveal slogans will be sanctioned by the competition organiser."

The waistband of Bendtner's green and white underwear carried the name of a Dublin-based online betting firm. The company, Paddy Power, said on its website that they were "lucky pants", and that they had sent the pants out as a bit of fun to several top goalscorers, including some England players, Metro reports.

A Paddy Power statement said: "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."

This was a view echoed by players and ex-players. Gary Lineker tweeted: "The decision to fine Bendtner €100,000 for exposing his sponsored undies when fines for racism are considerably less is, frankly, pants."

Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand agreed, tweeting: "Uefa are you for real? £80,000 fine for Bendtner for underwear advertising... all of the racism fines together don’t even add up to that!"

Fines handed down to clubs by UEFA for racism in recent months have included £16,000 to Porto and £34,000 to Bulgaria for fan behaviour. This may not be the end of the issue: Paddy Power say they have sent out more pants. "Who knows where they might turn up next," a spokesman said.

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Ronaldo and a Dutch player both took off their shirts at the end of their game to reveal a big Nike logo in the middle of their undershirts. Will they be fined too? Or is that O.K?