Ayr United face charge and criticism on topless model promoting kit

By David CurrieBBC Scotland
A model wears Ayr's new strip
Ayr's new strip was painted on to a topless model

Ayr United have scored an "own goal" with a "sexist" kit promotion campaign, says founder of Scottish Women in Sport Maureen McGonigle.

The club face a possible disrepute charge for using a body-painted topless female model to publicise their strip.

It is not the first time Ayr's replica kit has been promoted this way.

Scottish FA compliance officer Tony McGlennan is now considering whether the club have a case to answer after complaints made to the governing body.

Ayr, who have won promotion to the Scottish Championship, are refusing to comment.

However, former football administrator McGonigle told BBC Scotland: "For a club trying to encourage the local community to support it, this is an own goal.

"They're using tactics from the 1970s to sell strips.

"They'd be much better using positive images of a family to promote the kit. This is a dreadful piece of marketing.

"I appreciate the need to bring finance into a club, but I think Ayr should be having a conversation with their sponsors about the need to appeal to all sections of the community."

A number of complaints were made after the club's sponsor published the photographs of the model in the club's 2016-17 colours.

Ayr will play in the second tier next season after beating Peterhead and Stranraer in the play-offs.

Scotland women's captain Gemma Fay said: "Surely promotion to the SPFL Championship would be enough to market strip sales."

Ayr's sponsor, online betting company Bodog, defended the photographs.

"This is all a bit strange as we had body-painted models at the press launch of the deal five years ago and this is the fifth consecutive year we've done a similar photoshoot," said founder Calvin Ayre.

"So this 'outraged of Glasgow' reaction is, at best, bizarre."

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