Putting it all on show | Nicklas Bendtner‘s “lucky pair of pants” must have lost their touch – earning him an £80,000 fine and a one-match suspension from UEFA

Once again the football world has been shocked, if not actually surprised, by the actions of those who ‘run’ the game. UEFA has slapped a £80,000 fine on Nicklas Bendtner. What is Bendtner’s crime you ask? Well, he has terrible taste in undergarments.

The man who bagged himself a brace against Portugal revealed the sponsorship during a goal celebration. The outrage is not so much about the amount of the fine, or the one game ban attached. The real shame of it is the comparison to recent racism fines dished out by UEFA. Bendtner’s fine was more than the £64,000 sum Croatia faced due to their fans racially abusing the ever adorable Mario Balotelli. It is not the first time UEFA has handed out pitiful fines for racial abuse by various groups of fans across Europe.

Arsenal striker Bendtner, who spent the past season on loan at Sunderland, said the boxers were “just a lucky pair of pants”.

It is abundantly clear that while FIFA is governed by the continually clueless Sepp Blatter, and UEFA by French oddball Michel Platini, there will be no progress on simple, common sense issues.

The two fines have drawn immediate criticism from around the footballing world. Manchester City and Belgium defender Vincent Kompany took to Twitter to launch this tirade: “Racist chants 80k fine. Commercial stunt 100k fine + 1 match ban… UEFA might need to review their order of priorities, don’t you think?”

“Surely if you were a sponsor [of the tournament],” he continued, “you would consider racism as a more dangerous association than the (damage) caused by commercial opportunism?”

Rio Ferdinand, characteristically, was somewhat less level-headed: “Uefa are you for real??? £80,000 fine for Bendtner for underwear advertising…. all of the racism fines together don’t even add up to that?! Uefa are not serious… If racism made money for Uefa like advertising does do you think Uefa would take it as serious?? #priorities”

Although Ferdinand’s criticism came before the Croatia fine was handed down, he may have been referring to a penalty placed on Porto earlier this year for racial abuse, again aimed at Balotelli, by their fans. That amounted to about £16,700.

However, while this storm rages on, from my view as a Business Management graduate, it is worth giving Paddy Power some credit. They obviously paid a fee to Bendtner for revealing their branded boxers. However, the publicity from the saga alone is worth the fee. Let’s add to that sheer audacity of sponsoring a player of such limited ability. For all we know they may have provided Emile Heskey a branded mankini in the 2010 World Cup – we simply never found out. When Paddy Power ‘invested’ in Bendtner, it was a huge risk thinking he’d even make an impact in what was the so-called ‘Group of Death’.

Paddy Power’s marketing campaign is going from strength to strength. Despite their advertising campaign featuring the world’s largest vuvuzela, it is actually the least irritating of all their Euro 2012 betting rivals. None of this ‘BET IN PLAY NOW’ or ‘Raymondo’ nonsense. I may even stretch my praise to Bendtner himself, who outscored Arsenal team-mate Robin Van Persie this summer.

I have rather digressed from the point, though. It is pitiful that UEFA is unable to take reasonable retrospective action that represents the severity of the offence committed. Unfortunately, I think as lovers of the beautiful game, we have to accept that changes at the top aren’t going to happen anytime soon, and the U in UEFA might stand for ‘Ugly’ rather than ‘Union’ for a while longer.

I would just like to conclude with a disclaimer – I’m not an employee of Paddy Power, nor am I currently wearing green boxer shorts.

Tweet the author | @sbboh

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