KOLOBRZEG, Poland – Talk about getting your knickers in a twist.
The Danish Football Association was in damage control mode Thursday after Nicklas Bendtner lowered his pants in a goal-scoring stunt it says breached an exclusive sponsorship deal as well as UEFA's rules against ambush marketing.
Celebrating his second goal in Denmark's 3-2 loss Wednesday against Portugal, Bendtner lifted his shirt and lowered his shorts slightly, revealing the name of an Irish betting firm across the top of his briefs.
Not only is that against UEFA rules, which bar players from wearing any sponsor advertising on their uniform. It also didn't go down well with a British gambling company, Ladbrokes, one of the official sponsors of Denmark's national team.
"We have an exclusive deal ... and this is of course a breach of it," association spokesman Lars Berendt told The Associated Press. "And it's also a breach of UEFA's commercial rules, rules against exposing personal messages."
So far, the European soccer body had not raised a complaint about the issue, he added.
"Nicklas Bendtner has assured us that he will pay attention to respect the regulations and contracts made by UEFA and DBU for this tournament," Berendt said.
It wasn't immediately clear whether Bendtner would face any action for the display. The Arsenal center forward, who was loaned to Sunderland last season, insisted Thursday that it wasn't a publicity stunt.
"I was happy after having scored 2-2 ... so I celebrated like I normally do," Bendtner said.
"But it was not a conscious thing on my part. It was simply some underwear that give a little luck. I also wore them in the first match and have worn them before.
"Of course, I can see it's a bit unfortunate. But there is no agreement or anything like that. It was just for myself," he said.
Minutes after Bendtner's celebration, the Irish bookmaker sent a Twitter message with a photograph claiming that Bendtner was wearing his lucky underwear.
According to Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet, Denmark's FA told Bendtner he'll have to wear different briefs in the team's final Group B match against Germany on Sunday.
Germany tops the group with six points while Denmark and Portugal both have three.