A football website for Liverpool fans, www.Liverpool-Kop.com, has been told by the ASA to ensure that competitions it runs in future are compliant with the CAP Code. The ASA found that its competitions had breached a number of rules including not making it clear how to participate in the competitions, how many winners there would be, how winners would be judged and selected and what prizes they would win.

The individual who ran the site didn’t respond formally to the complaint, but told the ASA in a phone conversation that the competitions “had nothing to do with advertising as he was an individual running a website, and had simply decided to reward his commentators with an informal system of prizes.”

The ASA acknowledged that the website, which contains reports and commentary on Liverpool FC and general football issues, was not within its remit. The competitions were another matter. The site’s top posters could win prizes, so entries on the site promoting the competitions were part of a “sales promotion” and within the ASA’s remit.

People who run promotional prize draws or competitions need to be aware that the ASA may investigate their activities, even if no-one is selling anything to anyone. The ASA has no power to fine advertisers but its published adjudications can cause negative publicity, and it has other ways of enforcing its rulings if necessary.