Bendtner fined £80k for Paddy Power pant stunt
Nicklas Bendtner has been fined £80,000 and and banned from playing in Denmark's next competitive game by UEFA for displaying underwear sponsored by Irish bookmaker Paddy Power while celebrating a goal during the Euro 2012 tournament. Europe's governing body ruled that the stunt was a piece of ambush marketing, and found Bendtner guilty of 'improper conduct', in which he exposed his pants with the Paddy Power logo around the waistband.
Paddy Power said on their official Twitter page that they were 'appalled with the severity of Nicklas Bendtner’s fine for wearing his 'luckypants'.
The severity of the punishment has caused uproar, with many pointing towards the disproportionate fines levied by UEFA against racist and violent conduct. Russia was fined £96,000 in the competition after fans physcially assualted stewards, while Poland were fined £3,230 after Polish fans set off fireworks during the match against Russia.
In February's Champions League competition, UEFA fined Porto just £16,000 after fans were found guilty of racially abusing Mario Balotelli. The head scratching nature of the amount shouldn't be a surprise though, as the Portugese club's penalty was followed in the same match with a £24,740 fine for Manchester City, for returning to the field less than a minute late after half-time.
It would seem then that the severity of the fine is based on protecting UEFA's commercial interests, and not the severity of the 'crime'. According to UEFA, a seemingly innacuous flash of the Paddy Power pants is on par with mass assault and worse than the combined racial slurs of hundreds, if not thousands of supporters.