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Advertising Rights Digest - Arm yourself with knowledge

Published on 12 May 2011

Final FIFA Barometer - Legal lessons
By Willem Krog
21 Jul 2010

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Assessing the legal lessons of the FIFA World Cup involuntarily evokes the Biblical story of Esau who sold his birthright for a pot of lentil soup. From a legal point of view that was what the South African Government and the Host Cities did to the South African population.

They adopted draconian legislation - directly in defiance of our Constitution - and relied on our gratitude not to raise our voices against the legal issues in question. Legally speaking, we were held hostage by FIFA in return for hosting the championship.

Lesson 1
A free and democratic country cannot enter into agreements with a "non-profit"� organisation to promulgate laws drafted and set by that organisation which fly in the face of our Constitution.

An example is the Host City by-laws which were draconian and drafted by FIFA. Any city that refused to promulgate these by-laws (such as Cape Town) was threatened to either adapt or lose its host city status. There is no doubt that such actions by a host city is fundamentally unconstitutional and would have been struck down by a court.

Another example is the notice in terms of the Merchandise and Marks Act which prohibits the use of any words FIFA could conjure up, such as "SA 2010"� etc. It effectively prohibits South African from associating with the event. If you want to associate, you must pay-up said FIFA. The tournament is in this country: for Gods sake, we cannot but associate with it!

Lesson 2
Legal threats are a form of marketing. If you continue long and hard enough with it, everybody will start believing they are real. And they were not. It was hot air all the way - and we fell for it. One is still awaiting reports of the special courts prosecuting anybody for contravening FIFA marketing or advertising directives. Besides the two Dutch girls whose human rights were trampled upon, there were a lot of Gestapo-type threats, but there will not be a single case making it to the courts.

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