AN Ayr United club strip promotion featuring a topless model has been accused of treating women as sex objects by gender equality charities.

The kit promotion was unveiled by the club's main sponsor after The Honest Men won promotion to the Championship, the second tier of Scottish football.

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Calvin Ayre, Canadian founder of club sponsor and betting firm BoDog, who is behind the launch, posted the images this week of partially naked model Ava Sovisl wearing body paint in the colours of the Ayr United's kit.

Mr Ayre says in his promotion: “The Ayr United shirts are of a very high quality but it would be unfair to say they are materially superior to other teams’ kit.

"In fact, based on the latest photo shoot... it appears to me as if there may be some sizing issues with the first shirts to come off the rack.

"Also, it seems the colours may run if you get your hands wet.... So, you know, fair warning. And 'Mon the Ayr!' ”

It is understood that complaints have been made to the Scottish Football Association over whether Ayr United has breached rules around bringing the game into disrepute in relation to the kit promotion images.


Fifa executive committee member Moya Dodd described the kit launch as "soft porn" and branded it "atrocious".

Jemima Olchawski, head of policy and insight at the women's rights charity Fawcett Society: said "We need to call time on this outdated practice. They should be celebrating its female fans, not treating them as sex objects."

Lydia House of the Scots gender equality charity Zero Tolerance called for the promotion to be withdrawn.

“The advert follows the common trend in advertising of using women’s bodies to sell products to a male audience. It’s not surprising, but it is disappointing, and we would urge them away from this decision.

"Football fans are more than capable of assessing the merits of a new football kit, without it having to be smeared in paint across a naked woman’s body. It talks down to them as consumers, suggesting they need titillation to sell products.

"This problem runs deep in our society, and we often see women’s bodies being used in highly sexualised or depersonalised ways to market products.

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"Research has shown that the power of advertising has a huge impact on how we view gender roles in Scotland, and this advert promotes the message that a woman’s value lies only in her physical appearance."

Head of youth at Glasgow City FC, Amy McDonald, added: "They have just advertised for a girls and women's development officer for their growing academy. To do this is a backwards step."

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The backlash has bemused the gambling entrepreneur who pointed out that this is the fifth year in a row that such photo shoots have been conducted.

He said: “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 so this ‘outraged of Glasgow’ reaction is, at best, bizarre."