In Brief

AC Milan scrape the barrel with pre-match haka for Nivea

Actors perform a version of the Maori war cry before San Siro match to promote skincare product

Football has been accused of selling out in the past, but AC Milan's performance of a "haka" to appease sponsor Nivea has caused outrage around the world.

Actors dressed in the famous Rossoneri kit ran onto the pitch before the Serie A clash with Carpi at the San Siro stadium and performed something approximating the Maori war cry in order to promote a skincare product.

As jaws dropped around the world, the only positive appeared to be the news that it was actors rather than the actual team taking part.

The New Zealand Herald was distinctly unimpressed and described the stunt as "cringe-inducing" and "one of sport's most awful - truly gut-wrenchingly awful - promotions".

Even Australians, who have more reason than most to dislike the sight of the haka, were angry.

"There is a fine line between clever marketing and selling out. And, it seems, football giants AC Milan have well and truly over-stepped it," writes David Sygall in the Sydney Morning Herald.

It is clear that Milan and their sponsors "got it terribly wrong", he adds.

The stunt may have been light-hearted, but "the attention-seeking ploy could backfire on the club, given the cultural sanctity New Zealanders place in traditional war dances like the Haka", says ITV.

A similar marketing ploy during the Rugby World Cup, involving former England star Matt Dawson dancing the "hakarena", also drew widespread condemnation.

AC Milan's effort was equally embarrassing and many were struck by the sheer lameness of the ploy. "Superficially appropriating another culture's serious custom for a light-hearted publicity stunt might be a bit problematic," says the Daily Telegraph. But the main reaction was "widespread nausea at the thought of how low football seems to have sunk".

It is not easy to watch, says the Daily Mirror. "This is one of those times when you put your head into your heads and ask, 'what is the world coming to?'" 

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