Monday July 7,2014 : SAUREZ AXING RUINS PADDY POWER PLOY
Online gambling operator had another cheeky plan…and FIFA would not have liked it.
The suspension of World Cup footballer Luis Saurez last week for biting another player has short circuited a cheeky plan by Paddy Power's marketers to steal a little FIFA limelight had Suarez gone on to the remaining matches.
The Sunday Independent newspaper reports that arrangements were in train to pay Suarez a million Euros to wear a suitably branded gum shield which would be flashed when he smiled at appropriate moments during the knockout stages – especially when the cameras were focused on team line-ups for the national anthems.
The newspaper reports that Suarez's unfortunate record of using his teeth in games prompted the betting company's plan, which had been in development for a while.
A Paddy Power spokesman told the newspaper: “Last summer we had several exchanges with Joel Barras Garcia from Pere Guardiola’s management company. The discussions were around sponsoring Luis Suarez’s gum shield for his return match to the Premier League following his last biting ban [on Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic]. Negotiations broke down over cost but in theory, he was up for it.
“We reconnected with Garcia immediately after his latest World Cup biting ‘incident’ and in principle we had a deal in place whereby Suarez would reveal a Paddy Power branded mouth guard during the national anthems before the Uruguay v Colombia match.”
FIFA guards its advertising privileges fiercely, and there would undoubtedly have been a furore, but the gambling group appeared prepared to take that risk for a considerable reward.