UEFA takes players showing off their sponsored underwear very seriously, apparently.
Denmark’s Nicklas Bendtner was fined $125,797 and suspended for one World Cup qualifier this week when he showcased his gambling company-sponsored underwear during a Euro 2012 Group B match versus Portugal. As noted by Yahoo! Sports, that ridiculous fine exceeds the penalties that both Croatia and Russia received for far more egregious incidents. Per their report:
With this fine, UEFA shows yet again just how important sponsor considerations are to the organization. After all, the Croatian federation was fined just €25,000 ($31,449) for fans throwing fireworks and missiles and invading the pitch during their match against Ireland. Russia was given a €120,000 ($150,945) fine for stadium violence that included vicious attacks on stewards after their match against the Czech Republic.
Of course, while the penalty does seem excessive, it’s not completely unwarranted. Athletes shouldn’t be permitted to be sponsored by gambling organizations, period. Once you open the door for associations between players of any sport and the institutions that wager on what they do, you’re just asking for all sorts of trouble.
Here was how UEFA.com described Bendtner’s punishment:
Following the opening of disciplinary proceedings concerning the improper conduct of Denmark's Nicklas Bendtner at the UEFA EURO 2012 Group B match against Portugal in Lviv on Wednesday 13 June, the UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body has decided to suspend the player for one competitive fixture.
This suspension applies to the next 2014 FIFA World Cup match, including the qualifying competition, for which Bendtner is eligible. The player has also been fined €100,000. An appeal can be lodged against this decision within three days of the dispatch of the full written decision.
As you would expect, Bendtner is now claiming that he didn’t know about UEFA’s policies as they pertain to unapproved sponsor advertising.
Well, after this, he’ll know.