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FIFA defend decision to ban F1 star from having World Cup image on helmet at German Grand Prix

FIFA has defended its decision to ban Nico Rosberg from carrying an image of the World Cup on his celebratory helmet for this weekend's German Grand Prix.

Picture: Nico Rosberg, Twitter
Picture: Nico Rosberg, Twitter

Following Germany's fourth World Cup triumph on Sunday via their 1-0 victory over Argentina at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, an ecstatic Rosberg immediately sought to reflect his team's achievement.

On Tuesday Rosberg tweeted a picture of the helmet he had planned to wear at Hockenheim, resplendent with the colours of the German flag.

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Primarily, it was adorned with four stars to indicate the number of times they have been crowned champions, whilst on top was an image of the World Cup.

FIFA, however, caught wind of the situation and contacted Rosberg's manager Georg Nolte to inform him his driver would have to remove the image due to an infringement of its intellectual property rights.

A FIFA spokesperson said: "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.

"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."

The new helmet, tweeted on Thursday by Rosberg, now figures the four stars far more prominently complete with each of the years Germany have won the trophy, with this year's the most significant.

Mercedes, meanwhile, are also marking the occasion with a special message on the side of their paddock motorhome.

In giant white letters are the words 'Das Beste' (The Best), followed by 'Wir gratulieren unserer Nationalmannschaft zum Titelgewinn' which translates as 'We congratulate our national team on winning the title'.

There is the crest of the German national team, along with the four stars, albeit with the fourth replace by the three-pointed emblem of Mercedes.

Rosberg conceded to being caught by surprise by FIFA's regulations, saying: "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!"

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