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ASA rejects complaints over Paddy Power blind football ad

Betting company avoids censorship over advert that sees cat kicked instead of ball

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has rejected complaints over bookmaker Paddy Power's ad featuring blind footballers, and has approved of its screening.

The ad, which shows blind footballers kicking a cat on a football pitch, is intended to promote the bookmaker's money-back specials. It has attracted 1,089 complaints for being offensive and encouraging cruelty to animals.

Paddy Power defended the ad saying it depicted a "normal event but featured an (unlikely) action" and that at the end of the ad the cat was clearly and deliberately shown to be unharmed.

The ASA decided not to uphold the complaints and said that "it was not offensive or disrespectful in itself to create an ad referring to or involving people with a disability."

The regulator noted that the ad, which showed blind people enjoying the football game, was supported by members of the England Blind Football Team. It added that the ad was unlikely to prompt blind players to cause harm to animals whilst playing football.