4 May 2012

Argentinian athlete’s Falklands ad causes outrage

An advert shot on the Falkland Islands showing Argentinian hockey player Fernando Zylberberg training on a British war memorial prompts calls for him to be banned from the London Olympics.

The advert was paid for by the Argentinian government and shown on national television. It shows the hockey player running past the island’s newspaper, Penguin News, along British-style roads and past a red phone box and training on a First World War memorial.

It ends with the message: “To compete on English soil we train on Argentine soil”.

Cristina Kirchner ought to concentrate on the corruption she has in her own country. Falklands veteran Simon Weston

Foreign Secretary William Hague branded the ad a “stunt”: “Argentina has had some diplomatic setbacks over the Falkland Islands in recent weeks. They failed at the summit of the Americas to get other countries from south America and north America to join them in a declaration about the Falkland Islands so now I think they are now resorting to one or two stunts.

“I don’t think they will win any support for that. Any attempt to misuse the Olympics for political purposes isn’t going to go down anywhere in the world.

“So I don’t think this will do them any good and of course in Britain we remain absolutely steadfast in our support for the self-determination of the Falkland islanders.”

Are the Falkland Islands British? Factcheck finds out.

Falklands War veteran Simon Weston called the advert “cheap and tawdry” and said he thinks the publicity will backfire on the Argentine President Cristina Kirchner: “She has problems in her own country and she’s just trying to use anything she can to raise the issue. She ought to concentrate on the corruption she has in her own country.”

He also hit out at athlete Fernando Zylberberg for taking part in the ad: “The Olympian desecrating a war memorial, using it as a cheap prop in a very tawdry little advert”.