'John Terry' image appears in India anti-smoking drive

Cigarette packet at a Delhi stall, 3 January John Terry's management says no permission was sought

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Representatives of John Terry are taking legal advice after an image resembling the England football captain appeared on cigarette packs in India.

The blurred head-and-upper-body image appears above the words Smoking Kills.

The Indian Express said it was part of an anti-smoking drive. The government's Directorate of Visual Publicity said it was unclear why the image was used.

A spokesman for Elite Management, which represents John Terry, told the BBC no consent had been given.

His statement read: "It's been brought to our attention that an image of our client has been used on some cigarette packaging without our consent or knowledge. We've now instructed our legal team to investigate this matter."

UK trial

The Indian Express quoted KS Dhatwalia, additional secretary of the Directorate of Visual Publicity, as saying: "We sent the creative to the health ministry and they then cleared it and circulated it.

"But how Terry's picture got to be used is not clear."

However, another official at the directorate told Reuters news agency that the matter "has got nothing to do with John Terry", adding: "It was purely a piece of artistic imagination and I don't know why an issue is being created."

The Chelsea and England captain is at present fighting a legal battle over racist comments allegedly made towards footballer Anton Ferdinand during a Premier League game.

The 31-year-old was charged with a racially aggravated public order offence after Chelsea's 1-0 defeat at Queens Park Rangers on 23 October.

He strenuously denies the charges.

The Indian government has blundered before on advertising.

In 2010, Indian officials apologised after a government advertisement included an image of a Pakistani ex-air force chief alongside prominent Indians.

Also in 2010, India's government devised an advertising campaign for its Commonwealth Games athletes set against the backdrop of aircraft vapour trails featuring the national colours. However, the colours were of Italy's red, white and green rather than India's orange, white and green.

Also that year, the state of Meghalaya had to withdraw school textbooks that featured pictures of Jesus Christ holding a cigarette and a can of beer.

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