Fifa takes sports bar to court

Adele Shevel

Adele Shevel

Fifa has won its first court case against "ambush marketers" - popular Pretoria sports bar Eastwoods Tavern.

The bar - located close to Loftus Stadium in Pretoria, which is one of the venues to host games during next year's Soccer World Cup tournament - had been carrying "World Cup 2010" below the main signage on its roof.

It also erected banners featuring the flags of several soccer-playing countries accompanied by the numerals 2010, along with the words "Twenty Ten South Africa".

Fifa obtained a judgment with costs against Eastwoods in the Pretoria High Court, working through intellectual property firm Spoor & Fisher.

Owen Dean, a partner at Spoor & Fisher, said the judgment was timely, coming two months before the Confederations Cup tournament which is considered "the dress rehearsal for the 2010 World Cup, and just over a year before the main tournament itself".

"It sends out a clear signal to any other organisation considering ambush marketing that they will suffer untoward consequences," said Dean.

The action against Eastwoods Tavern is the culmination of a five-year collaboration between Fifa and Spoor & Fisher, which included included an extensive trademark registration programme covering trade markets such as South Africa 2010 and World Cup 2010.