Ambush marketing, for one — at least according to the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). Racial abuse directed by Croatian fans at black Italian striker Mario Balotelli during the group stages earned the Croatian Football Association a fine of $100,000 from the European football federation, which had vowed to act harshly to stamp out racism. But a day earlier, Danish striker Nicklas Bendtner had been slapped with an even larger fine — $125,000 — as well as a one-match ban. His crime? Flashing the name of a leading Irish sports-betting firm on the waistband of his underpants. Guerrilla marketing is a big no-no for the UEFA and its parent organization FIFA, which aggressively polices the ad space in and around stadiums to protect the investments of sponsors. But the fact that it drew a harsher punishment than racist abuse had many questioning the UEFA’s priorities. Oh, and don’t worry about Bendtner — the bookies graciously agreed to pay his fine.
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