Fifa vows to stop unofficial World Cup sponsorship

Brand owners are being warned that they may have to pull marketing campaigns planned for launch ahead of this summer’s football World Cup, following a raft of trademark legislation by Fifa.

Football’s global governing body has vowed to clamp down on companies that are not on its roster of 15 headline sponsors if they explicitly refer to newly registered terms, including “World Cup” and “Germany 2006”, in consumer messages.

The Institute of Sales Promotion has been contacted by Fifa regarding the issue. ISP director general Edwin Mutton is urging non-sponsors to seek legal advice before launching promotions.

He says: “The World Cup rules are now getting as strict as the Olympics. If smaller brands are thinking of launching any promotions around the tournament, they need to be very careful to take legal advice.

“We’re taking legal advice on the issue. But by the time it goes through the system it would probably be too late to make a difference for this year’s event.”

Meanwhile, Umbro has released details of its World Cup marketing activity. Despite being a Football Association sponsor, the sportswear giant is still subject to the same restrictions as other non-World Cup partners.

It is planning to launch a photography book and exhibition called One Love, featuring soccer images from around the world, and will distribute 15,000 branded footballs in town centres. RPM is handling the activity.

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