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Football Association pulls ‘xenophobic’ campaign

The Football Association has been forced to pull a radio advertising campaign for tickets to a friendly with Sweden after they were accused of using 'xenophobic stereotypes'.

The adverts, broadcast on talkSPORT, saw a narrator using a mock Swedish accent as he said: "And now a MASSAGE from the Swedish football team: Listen up, English football fans..." over an ABBA-style backing track.

Last month Spain was treated in a similarly mocking manner in the lead up to a match taking place this month.

Piara Powar, executive director of Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE), said: "We're surprised that the FA are using xenophobic national stereotypes to sell these games. There's no need to do that.

"It doesn't necessarily get them any more people going to the games. People going to the games will be going because it's an international game, because the Spanish in particular but also the Swedes are quality opposition.

"I don't see how adding a stereotypical Swedish or Spanish voice, or drawing on those sort of national stereotypes helps at all.

"If the shoe was on the other foot, then of course we would at the very least wince if not protest against that so it's something that we need to see advertising agencies and the FA marketing department to bear in mind when they commission these sort of adverts."

An FA spokesman has confirmed: “We have withdrawn the advert with immediate effect.

“It was never intended to cause offence but in light of recent comments we have taken the decision to remove it from circulation.”

Featured by The Drum