ASA clears Fila over Di Canio ads

- An ad campaign accused of exploiting the incident in which the footballer Paolo Di Canio pushed a referee to the ground is not being given a red card by advertising watchdogs.

- An ad campaign accused of exploiting the incident in which the footballer Paolo Di Canio pushed a referee to the ground is not being given a red card by advertising watchdogs.

They have cleared Fila, the sportswear manufacturer, of glorifying irresponsible behaviour and setting a bad example to young people with poster and cinema advertising in which Di Canio describes himself as "pushy".

The Italian, now with West Ham, provoked outrage when, as a Sheffield Wednesday player, he sent referee Paul Alcock tumbling after being sent off during a match against Arsenal in September 1998. The Football Association charged him with misconduct, fined him £10,000 and banned him for 11 matches.

In his voiceover for the cinema commercial, produced by Billington Jackson, Di Canio says: "If you want to get to the absolute top you have to push yourself. You have to be able to push others around you so that they too can achieve their ambitions. This is very important to me. Because, you know, I have always been a pushy person."

Fila claimed the advertising did not relate to the pushing incident but was dereived from the wider "Push yourself" theme of the wider campaign.

The ASA has also thrown out a complaint by EasyJet, the cut price airline, which claimed a Virgin Rail press ad headlined "QueasyJet" was denigrating and insulting.

EasyJet, which regularly pokes fun at rivals in its own advertising, was given a taste of its own medecine by Virgin which told the ASA the advertising was a response to EasyJet's "great train robbery" campaign.

The Virgin ad, by Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R, promoted rail journeys from London to Manchester and Liverpool from £5 each way with the line "Not everyone appreciates our low fares".



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