Fifa puts a lid on F1 driver's World Cup helmet

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 07:48 18/07/2014
Nico Rosberg helmet
Twitter/@Nico Rosberg

NOT FOR SHOW: An image of the helmet Nico Rosberg hoped to wear at the German Grand Prix.

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Heavy-handed Fifa officials have stopped German Formula One driver Nico Rosberg wearing a World Cup celebration helmet at his home Grand Prix this weekend.

They said the design, featuring an image of the golden trophy on the top of the helmet, infringed copyright.

Trouble started when Rosberg, who drove for German Football Association sponsors Mercedes, posted on Twitter a photo of the helmet, asking his 712,000 followers what they thought of it.

"This will be my Hockenheim World Cup special edition helmet with the Fifa trophy. How do you like it?" the world championship leader wrote.

Fifa didn't and released a statement exlpaining their decision to stop him from wearing it.

"We appreciate Nico Rosberg's desire to congratulate the German team and have therefore been in discussions with the Rosberg team to attempt to find a solution, whereby he is still able to show his support for Germany without using Fifa intellectual property in a commercial context.''

A compromise appeared to have been found with Rosberg having another helmet designed featuring four stars on top of it to reflect Germany's four World Cup triumphs; the latest being the win in the final on Monday against Argentina in Brazil.

Rosberg told the Guardian he was surprised by the fuss.

"The World Cup as a trademark - these are the kind of things you have to think of. It's amazing.

"I was surprised but of course I fully understand. It was a pity because the helmet looked really cool with the trophy on top. I've replaced it now with a big star and no-one can take that away. The star is ours!"

Football fan Rosberg got married last week and then watched the World Cup final with huge delight. He said winning the German GP would complete an incredible week for him.

Of the final, he said: "It was such an intense match, and it really could have gone either way. In the end, the Germans did it when Mario Gotze scored with just seven minutes of extra-time remaining. It was so, so awesome. I went crazy in the apartment when we scored and it was a great experience, one that I will always remember."

FIFA COMMENT

Fifa released a lengthy statement explaining their request for Rosberg not to wear the helmet.

"Fifa is obliged to take action against any unauthorised reproduction of its intellectual property in a commercial context.

"If Fifa would not follow up on any potential infringements of its intellectual property, it would risk losing its legal right and title to such works, thereby endangering the foundation of its commercial programme which is driven primarily by the access to, and usage of, our brand marks, including the Fifa World Cup trophy.

"An example of the strength of Fifa's intellectual property assets is reflected by recent research in seven key global markets where the Fifa World Cup trophy recorded an average recognition level of 83 per cent.

"These levels are significantly higher than any other sporting trophies. As a result, we cannot allow a commercially branded helmet to feature the Fifa World Cup trophy as this would jeopardise the rights of our commercial affiliates."

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