The Colombian ambassador to the UK has complained after tabloid newspaper the Sun published a headline referencing the drugs trade in the build-up to England’s World Cup game against the Colombians in Russia.
The Sun published the frontpage headline with a picture of England captain Harry Kane draped in a Cross of St. George flag. The headline read: “As 3 Lions face nation that gave world Shakira, great coffee and er, other stuff, we say … GO KANE!”
The drugs reference drew the ire of the Colombian ambassador to the UK, Nestor Osorio Londono.
“It’s rather sad that they use such a festive and friendly environment as the World Cup to target a country and continue to stigmatise it with a completely unrelated issue,” he said, according to the Guardian.
“Respect, fair play and joy for the game is all that matters tonight. We’ll be cheering for Colombia and hoping we can all enjoy a great match.”
A spokesperson for the Sun dismissed the headline as being “suitably light-hearted considering the context.”
“Like the ambassador, we’re looking forward to a good game tonight against a great footballing nation,” the spokesperson added.
However, some online also felt that the headline was inappropriate, branding it “racist” and demanding an apology.
"Sports have a way of making us put aside our differences, bringing the world together and-- uh--"— James Felton (@JimMFelton) July 2, 2018
"Just... Just do the 'go kane cocaine pun', Bob, we'll work out how racist it is afterwards." pic.twitter.com/Im1rMzjlfg
Absolutely disgraceful front page from The Sun today. Colombia is my second home - and they have made amazing strides the last 20 years. Full retraction and apology needed.— Ben Fairthorne (@BFairthorne) July 3, 2018
Others said that England skipper Kane would also not approve of his image being used in such a way.
Wonder how Harry kane feels about the Go Kane headline. I'd imagine probably, er, not great for the brand overall ...— Barney Ronay (@barneyronay) July 3, 2018
Some said they would switch allegiance to Colombia over the incident.
don't ever wanna RT a Sun front page but it's fair to say I'd quite like Colombia to win now— aka jules rimet (@ehbenj) July 3, 2018
England meet Colombia at Spartak Stadium in Moscow with a place in the World Cup quarter-final at stake.
The teams met in the World Cup group stage 20 years ago, when England won 2-0.