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Bletchley man receives Bolivian abuse over football kit design

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Media captionAngelo Trofa's designs for the away kit were based on the indigenous people's flag

A graphic designer has received "torrents of abuse" from South America over a picture of a new national football kit he sketched as a hobby.

Angelo Trofa, from Bletchley, said his design was inspired by the Whiphala flag which represents the indigenous population of Bolivia.

But some Bolivians, saying he should have "more respect", have posted nearly 200 abusive comments on social media.

"I didn't expect to cause such a huge outrage," the designer said.

"It's just a drawing of a football kit."

The 26-year-old, who has worked in fashion for the past three years, said he had dreamed of being a football kit designer since he was a child and it was a "bit of a geeky obsession".

Image copyright Angelo Trofa
Image caption Angelo Trofa visited Bolivia in January
Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The Whiphala was promoted to a national flag in 2009

He regularly puts designs on his blog and social media accounts.

'Ridiculous' reaction

After spending a month in the country earlier this year, he posted sketches of a new Bolivian kit on his Facebook page, with the away shirt inspired by the seven colours of the Whiphala flag.

The flag, which represents Andes natives and therefore about 60% of the country's population, was promoted to a national flag in 2009 and given equal status to the original Bolivian tricolour of red, yellow and green, the designer said.

"But the non-indigenous population disregard it and don't associate themselves with it," said Mr Trofa.

"So I expected a bit [of abuse] but it snowballed and got a bit silly.

"I received torrents of abuse - mainly from angry Bolivian men - people saying they would kill me if I went back and that I was designing for the Nazis. The reaction was ridiculous."

On Facebook, Juan Ignacio Abella said the eastern part of Bolivia "has no connection with this rainbow flag .... only red, yellow and green flag represents me".

Omar Ruiz said he should have "more respect for a country and its traditions".

But Amaru Villanueva, a director at the centre for social research of the Bolivian Vice Presidency, said it was a "storm in a teacup" and there was no suggestion that the shirt design would be taken up.

"Social media tends to amplify extreme opinions," he said. "Bolivia is such a diverse, multi-ethnic state that no matter what emblem you use, some people will feel left out."

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