The Archdiocese of Rio has threatened to sue Italy’s state broadcaster over a television advert that depicts Rio de Janeiro’s famous Christ the Redeemer statue dressed in an Italian football shirt, according to reports.
The Catholic Church in Brazil says the digitally-altered advert, which promotes coverage of the World Cup on television station Rai, is inappropriate.
The short trailer shows children playing football in the street and ends with a shot of the statue of Christ wearing a blue shirt with the word “Italia” written across the shoulders.
The Archdiocese of Rio has reportedly threatened to sue Rai for between 15 and 21 million real (£4 million – £6 million).
“The Archdiocese is deeply offended,” Rodrigo Grazioli, a lawyer for the Brazilian Church, told O Globo newspaper.
“It’s as if Brazilian TV were to make a commercial in which mulatto girls engaged in lewd behaviour with the gladiators of the Colosseum.”
The Archdiocese have offered to pay any money it receives from Rai to charity. The World Cup begins in Sao Paulo on Thursdays with hosts Brazil playing Croatia.
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