Latin America & Caribbean

IOC criticises Argentine Olympic advert

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Media captionThe advert shows Argentine hockey captain Fernando Zylberberg running in the Falklands capital Port Stanley

An Argentine advert showing an Olympic hopeful training on the Falkland Islands has been criticised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The advert shows Argentine hockey captain Fernando Zylberberg training in the British overseas territory which Argentina claims as Las Malvinas.

The IOC said the 2012 Games should not be a forum to raise political issues.

It added that it "regrets any attempts to use the spotlight of the games for that end."

The IOC said it had contacted the Argentinian National Olympic Committee about the advert and received assurances that the games would not be used as a political platform.

'Not political'

"The Olympic Games should not be a forum to raise political issues and the IOC regrets any attempts to use the spotlight of the games for that end," the IOC added.

The advert - broadcast in Argentina on Wednesday night - is the latest move by Argentina to reassert its claim to the Falklands.

It is titled Olympic Games 2012: Homage to the Fallen and the Veterans of the Malvinas.

Zylberberg is shown running and exercising in the Falklands' capital Port Stanley, interspersed with shots of penguins and the windswept South Atlantic.

It ends with: "To compete on English soil we train on Argentine soil."

The video was produced by one of Argentina's main advertising agencies, Young & Rubicam, owned by British advertising giants WPP.

Head of WPP Sir Martin Sorrell condemned his own firm for a "totally unacceptable" advert, adding he was "appalled and embarrassed" at the 90-second advert.

Private companies

Zylberberg told Al Jazeera English that the advert was supposed to convey the country's feelings over the islands.

"The message is that to every Argentine the Islands belong to Argentina. To me to be training in any other province or to do it over the islands is the same," he told the broadcaster.

The advert was first offered to private companies, who preferred to stay away from the controversial video.

It was then brought to the attention of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who bought it and broadcast it.

Last month saw the 30th anniversary of the start of the Falklands War, when Argentine forces invaded the islands before being defeated by a British task force.

Argentina wants the UK to negotiate on sovereignty, but the British government says it will not discuss the issue without the agreement of the Falkland islanders.

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