Political stunt: An Argentine TV advert shows Olympic hopeful Fernando Zylberberg exercising on the Falklands' Great War Memorial. Picture: AFP/Presidencia de la Nacion Source: AFP
THE Argentinian government has been censured for a new TV ad linking the London Olympics to the Falklands.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) yesterday criticised the decision to make the ad, which shows the captain of Argentina's field hockey team training in the disputed islands.
"The Olympic Games should not be a forum to raise political issues and the IOC regrets any attempt to use the spotlight of the Games for that end," read a statement from the IOC.
"We are in contact with the Argentine NOC on a regular basis and we have been reassured on a number of occasions that the NOC will not seek to use the Games as a political platform and will fully respect the Olympic Charter.
"The IOC has always striven to separate sport from politics and honour the spirit of the Games and all those who take part."
On Friday the British government had condemned the advertisement while the agency behind the ad urged Buenos Aires to pull it.
Foreign Secretary William Hague branded the clip a "stunt" and accused Argentina of trying to exploit the 2012 London Olympics for political purposes, while Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond called it "tasteless" and "insulting".
The ad was aired on Argentine television amid high tensions between the two countries as they both mark the 30th anniversary of the Falklands war over the British-held islands.
It shows Argentina hockey captain Fernando Zylberberg running through the Falklands capital Stanley, and exercising on the town's Great War Memorial, which honours British sailors who died in World War I.
The ad carries the tagline: "To compete on English soil, we train on Argentinian soil."
Created by the Argentine arm of global marketing agency Y and R, it was released by Argentina's presidency and claims to be a "homage to the fallen and ex-combatants" of the conflict.