New Delhi: Chelsea and England captain John Terry is set to sue an Indian government agency after his picture was used for anti-smoking pictorial warnings printed on cigarette packets in India.
A hazy image on Terry's face appeared in an advert designed by India’s Directorate of Visual Publicity (DAVP) and approved by the Health Ministry for use on cigarette packets in the country as part of an anti-smoking campaign, above a warning that 'Smoking Kills'.
The England captain, 31, is already hogging the headlines in his country for the wrong reasons, as he faces criminal charges for allegedly racially abusing QPR’s Anton Ferdinand.
DAVP additional director-general KS Dhatwalia acknowledged that the Chelsea skipper’s picture had been used, but was clueless as to how his image came on the packet in the first place.
“We sent the creative to the Health Ministry and they then cleared and circulated it. But how Terry’s picture got to be used is not clear. I am trying to find out,” Dhatwalia told the Indian Express.
Meanwhile, an official from the Health Ministry who did not wished to be named suggested that the picture in question that resembled Terry was brought to their notice, but they had clarified on their part that “it had nothing to do with Terry.”
"We realised there was some confusion about one of the warnings and we immediately issued a clarification in November. The creative came to us from DAVP and we released it after due clearances. We are not responsible for pictures that may have been used by DAVP and cannot say whether it is the footballer,” the Health Ministry official was quoted as saying.
ITC, who make several cigarette brands in India, distanced themselves from the hullabaloo, stating that they were merely following the guidelines “prescribed by the Government of India”; something which the entire tobacco industry in the nation has to adhere.
Amidst all the blame game, Keith Cousins of Elite Management, who manage Terry’s account, has warned the concerned parties of a legal action.
“It's been brought to our attention that an image of our client has been used on some cigarette packaging without our consent or knowledge. We have reviewed this matter with our client and have today instructed solicitors to take appropriate action.”
The Gold Flake cigarette packets with Terry's apparent image were on sale in Delhi on Tuesday.