Soccer’s governing body Fifa has slammed a New Zealand sports store for using a hoax World Cup logo that depicts an armed silhouetted figure chasing another in an advertisement.

“It’s an insult to the South African people and the World Cup as a whole and is in bad taste because it implies South Africa’s not a good, safe place to live and that South Africans are criminals,” said Tai Nicholas, general secretary of Oceania Football, which represents Fifa in the Pacific.

“It’s a gimmick that’s done in poor taste … it’s at the level of the Andy Haden darkie thing.”

The image – which had the word “FAIL” above it – was on the Stirling Sports website from Monday night until early yesterday, accessed by clicking on a “soccer gear” icon.

Stirling Sports Dunedin franchisee and website owner, Russell Fowler said a staff member uploaded the image without examining it closely. The company’s checking system had been subsequently improved to avoid the same thing happening again.

The staff member was “very, very, upset about the whole thing”.

Fowler said the illustration came up on a search engine hunt for World Cup imagery.

“It’s an oversight on our behalf and we’ve fixed it. It was not supposed to be a joke at all. It was a logo that we picked up thinking it was fine and just didn’t take a close look [at it] basically.”

Nicholas said the slip-up “almost” warranted legal action. Not only in terms of being defamatory to Fifa in terms of the logo, but also to the hosts. If someone like [Jacob] Zuma, the South African President, got wind of it, you know how he would react to the New Zealand Government.”



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