Three items from the 2014 FIFA World Cup caught our eye on Thursday.
1. The U.S. men’s national soccer team lost to Germany, yet still advanced to the next round of the tournament.
2. Uruguay’s Luis Suarez is gone for the rest of this year’s World Cup and has been banned for four months for his bizarre biting incident.
3. And finally, Brazil’s star player Neymar whipped off his shirt after a game earlier this week revealing some colorful undershorts. Unsanctioned underwear, apparently. Brazilian media report the underwear did not come courtesy of the Brazilian team’s sponsor, Nike, or FIFA’s official sponsor, Adidas, but from a design house called Blue Man, which sent a pair to everyone on the team.
John Horan, the publisher of Sporting Goods Intelligence, says sponsors spend millions of money in exchange for brand visibility at sporting events. And sports associations are zealous about making sure players wear sanctioned clothing and equipment.
“They’ve all been read the riot act about this stuff,” Horan says.
A couple years ago, a Danish soccer player also caught flak for flashing non-sanctioned undies at a match. He got fined more than $100,000.
Reports swirled that FIFA, the World Cup’s governing body, is conducting an investigation into Neymar’s underwear reveal. But in an email, a spokesman waved off the matter, saying the organization “is not in a position to provide detailed individual feedback on every potential ambush marketing incident.”
It regards Neymar’s slip as “incidental exposure.”
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