Russia’s Raiffeisenbank and Papa Jones pizzeria franchise could be fined up to 500,000 rubles (about AUS$10,800) after the Moscow office of the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) issued warrants against the two companies for the illegal use of 2018 FIFA World Cup branding.
In April, Russia enacted a law tightening antimonopoly regulations in order to protect FIFA's commercial rights, with any unauthorized use of the World Cup branding giving grounds to initiate a case against violators.
Earlier, FAS said that Raiffeisenbank offered discounts in St. Petersburg and Moscow bars and restaurants during the 2018 World Cup on its website, using images of fans, footballs, flags and a person drinking beer in its advertisements.
The bank also launched a limited-time campaign awarding airline miles for each goal Russia scored at the World Cup to customers who would open a debit card at the bank and used an image of a cup resembling the FIFA World Cup in their ads on Instagram.
The Papa Jones pizzeria chain offered its customers to bet on the World Cup matches in order to win a year-long supply of pizza. The campaign was promoted during the course of the tournament on the company’s official website, social media and via e-mail subscription.
“The [Federal Antimonopoly] Service supposes that these types of marketing campaigns must be approved by FIFA. In any other case such marketing… is aimed at promoting the services offered by the companies by benefiting from the worldwide sporting event,” FAS said in a statement.
Russia hosted its first World Cup from June 14 to July 15 with the games played in 11 cities - Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Saransk, Rostov-on-Don, Yekaterinburg, and Sochi.