DONETSK: Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner has been banned for one international and fined a remarkable £80,000 [E100,000] by UEFA for displaying sponsored underwear during Denmark’s game against Portugal at Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.
Bendtner pulled up his shirt to reveal Paddy Power-branded underwear on June 13 in Lviv and UEFA’s control and disciplinary committee Body has taken drastic action against him. His ban will apply for Denmark’s opening match in the 2014 World Cup qualifying competition. Bendnter, 24, has three days in which to appeal.
UEFA’s decision shows clearly that the priorities of the European federation concern commercial contracts rather than ethics: for example, after fans of FC Porto fans racially abused Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli in the Europa League last season, the Portuguese club were fined only E20,000.
The publicity which the offending betting company has and will go on receiving because of the size of the punishments is reminiscent of the self-defeating heavy-handed tactics employed by FIFA’s 2010 World Cup organisers against a stunt organised by the Dutch brewery Bavaria.
Bendtner’s huge fine is almost as the £100,000 imposed on the Russian federation after their fans attacked stewards during their match against Poland.
In a separate fine, Russia were earlier penalised £24,000 for fans’ misbehaviour, including displaying illicit banners in the stadium, while Croatia paid £20,000 for ‘spectator incidents’, including letting off dangerous fireworks and throwing missiles, as well as a pitch invasion by a supporter.
Added to the £8,000 fine Germany received for their fans throwing things onto the pitch and the £4,000 Portugal had to pay for delaying the second half of their match against the Germans, it equals £56,000 – some £24,000 less than Bendtner must pay.
When questioned about his underwear, Bendtner, who spent last season on loan at Sunderland, said: ‘It is just a pair of lucky boxer shorts that I used in the first game as well and have used before the tournament. I didn’t know I was breaking any rules but I am aware of that now.’
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