A Paddy Power advert calling on Sepp Blatter to “f*** off already” has been cleared by a British watchdog which ruled it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.
The ad in the sport section of the Guardian newspaper featured odds on the candidates for the 2015 Fifa presidential election.
It showed an image of Mr Blatter revealing the winner by holding up a piece of paper which said “Me”, while text at the top stated: “Just f*** off already!”
One reader complained that the use of the word “f***” was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.
Paddy Power said the ad was light-hearted and tongue-in-cheek and was intended to generate interest and reflect public sentiment in respect of the Fifa corruption scandal in a humorous and irreverent way.
The Guardian said it had considered before publication whether readers of its sport section would find the ad offensive, and had decided that it was “highly unlikely”.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) noted that the ad appeared in the sport section of the Guardian, which had an adult readership and frequently contained swear words.
The ASA said: “We considered that readers of that section were likely to understand that the ad was intended to be a light-hearted comment on the ongoing allegations of corruption within Fifa, and in particular the controversy surrounding Sepp Blatter’s tenure as Fifa president.
“In that context, we considered the use of ”f***“ was unlikely to cause offence to readers.
“Because we did not consider the ad would be offensive to those who were likely to see it, we concluded that it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.”
Paddy Power is accustomed to controversy surrounding its ads.
Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane is suing the bookmaker over a Braveheart billboard promotion. In June, it parked a lorry near the Aviva Stadium on a match day emblazoned with a mocked up image of the star as William Wallace.