France - Sport - 
Article published the Tuesday 25 May 2010 - Latest update : Wednesday 26 May 2010

Ribery poster on display despite scandal

Ribery's poster, Boulogne-sur-Mer
Photo: Ubibene

By RFI

A giant portrait of French football star Frank Ribery is on display in his native Boulogne-sur-Mer on Tuesday, despite an earlier move to stop using his image because of his alleged involvement with an underage prostitute.

The three-quarters image of Ribery’s face, spread across a giant billboard measuring 27 by 30 metres, was visible to all of those entering the northern French town.

Inscribed under the image in gold lettering was the slogan “Write the future”, with newspaper clippings reading “In search of a leader” and “Some players in doubt”.

Ribery at a training session in Tignes, 25 May
Ribery at a training session in Tignes, 25 May
Photo: Reuters

The billboard was a project of Nike, Ribery’s sponsor and the future partner of the French national team. They were first authorised to use the display in February. But the project was challenged at the beginning of May by the council of the Nord/Pas-de-Calais region, which owns the advertising space.

Regional council chairman Daniel Percehron, which runs the port, was concerned about the possible impact of Ribery’s alleged involvement with Zahia Dehar, following a police inquiry into underage prostitution.

But town mayor Frédéric Cuvillier opposed the ban on the grounds that the objection concerns Ribery's private life

Thierry Reboul, director of the Ubibene communications agency which supervised the advertising, said they had received a letter confirming the poster would be allowed to go on display throughout the duration of the World Cup.

Reboul added that the decision was made to put the poster up this week because weather conditions were suitable, and the French team is due to play a friendly against Costa Rica on Wednesday.

On Tuesday afternoon Ubibene, who run campaigns for companies such as Ikea and Nissan, posted the story on the frontpage of their website.

Nine labourers worked six hours overnight to construct the giant display.

tags: Competitive sport - Football - French football - World Cup
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