ITV sacks Earle over links to World Cup ambush marketing ploy

ITV has fired the football commentator Robbie Earle after it emerged that tickets he had been given for family and friends had been passed on to a third party – reportedly a Dutch beer brand that then used them in an ambush marketing campaign.

Robbie Earle
Robbie Earle

ITV said that Earle’s actions were in breach of FIFA rules and that his contract had been “terminated with immediate effect”. The broadcaster is now reviewing its entire allocation of tickets for the tournament.

The tickets were for the Holland versus Denmark match yesterday. ITV said they appeared to have been used for “unauthorised purposes” and that FIFA claimed they “may have been used for ambush marketing”.

During the match, held in Johannesburg, a group of 36 women wearing orange dresses and promoting the Dutch beer brand Bavaria were removed from the stadium. The Dutch media reports that Bavaria has admitted paying the women to attend the match.

The brand has previous history of disruptive marketing at the World Cup – in 2006 as many as a thousand Dutch football fans turned up at games wearing branded orange lederhosen. They were forced to remove the trousers and watch the game, against Ivory Coast, in their underpants.

Budweiser is the official beer sponsor of the world cup.

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