7 May 2010

Fifa clamps down on unauthorised World Cup merchandise

8:46 am on 7 May 2010

Football's world governing body FIFA has launched 2,500 legal actions around the globe to protect its World Cup brand.

450 actions had been taken or were pending in South Africa alone with almost all settled out of court.

FIFA's defence of its brand is so stringent that officials say street traders near stadiums who sell drinks that are not manufactured by World Cup sponsors will have to decant them into unbranded bottles.

The policies have been controversial here with accusations FIFA has been heavy-handed in bringing legal action and that local businesses will suffer because of the exclusivity awarded to the World Cup's major corporate partners.

FIFA makes most of its money -- which has to last until the next World Cup in four years time -- through selling television rights and deals with commercial sponsors. More than 60 percent of FIFA's 2007-2010 revenue of 4.5 billion dollars comes from TV rights and around 30 percent from commercial marketing.

Ticket revenue goes to the South African organising committee.