FIFA Warns Betting Operators

11 January 2006

FIFA, the World Football Association, is keen on safeguarding the trademarks of the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Germany and has already sent a number of letters to betting companies that have used its trademarks inappropriately.

Two court cases in Germany confirm that the trademarks for the World Cup have to be respected, which is essential for the financing of the future of the privately financed World Cup. One of the cases was the commercial use of the Internet domain name "" by a sports betting company.

FIFA operates a proactive Rights Protection Program (RPP) with a dedicated team of international legal experts and, in the run up to the 2006 FIFA World Cup, will be monitoring the Internet, television and the marketplace for abuse of its IP rights. According to FIFA's media department, the RPP has received encouraging boosts in recent months with important court victories against companies seeking to use its IP rights without authorization.

FIFA is aware of certain online gaming companies that seek to take advantage of major sporting events to engage in what many consider ambush marketing activities and obtain free publicity for their Web sites. The association's RPP team is working closely with the local authorities in Germany to ensure that such activities are prevented at the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

FIFA has already sent a number of letters to betting companies that have used its trade in such ways and intends to send more warnings soon.

The association's media department informed IGN that to the best of their knowledge, all of the recipients have voluntarily and immediately complied with the requests and amended their activities in accordance with FIFA's guidelines for use of its trademarks. It has, therefore, not been necessary to take legal action in any of the cases.

Click here to view the guidelines for FIFA's trademarks.

Rob van der Gaast has a background in sports journalism. He worked for over seven years as the head of sports for Dutch National Radio and has developed new concepts for the TV and the gambling industry. Now he operates from Istanbul as an independent gambling research analyst. He specializes in European gambling matters and in privatizations of gambling operators. Rob has contributed to IGN since Jul 09, 2001.