British designer receives ‘torrents of abuse’ over new design for Bolivia kit


British designer receives ‘torrents of abuse’ over new design for Bolivia kit

A Bletchley-based graphic designer has described receiving “torrents of abuse” online after he sketched a new design for the Bolivia national football kit.

Angelo Trofa, 26, said his concept, part of what he called a “bit of a geeky obsession” with designing strips, was based on the Wiphala flag, which represents the country’s majority indigenous population.

Trofa came up with the design after visiting Bolivia and seeing the rainbow-coloured flag, which was given dual national flag status alongside the previous red, yellow and green flag by the president, Evo Morales, in 2009. Publication of the concept online provoked an angry response from the flag’s opponents.

“I didn’t expect to cause such a huge outrage,” he told the BBC. “It’s just a drawing of a football kit. The non-indigenous population disregard [the flag]and don’t associate themselves with it, so I expected a bit but it snowballed and got a bit silly.

“I received torrents of abuse – mainly from angry Bolivian men – people saying they would kill me if I went back and that I was designing for the Nazis. The reaction was ridiculous.”

Amaru Villanueva, a director at the centre for social research of the Bolivian Vice Presidency, told the BBC it was a “storm in a teacup” and there was no suggestion that the shirt design would be taken up. “Social media tends to amplify extreme opinions,” he said. “Bolivia is such a diverse, multi-ethnic state that no matter what emblem you use, some people will feel left out.”


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