Manchester City has distanced itself from an advertisement that sought to recruit social media influencers to help boost ticket sales for its UEFA Champions League games.

The Premier League champions said the advertising agency that ran the ad on influencer marketing platform Tribe acted without its permission or knowledge.

The ad requested users with more than 5,000 followers to submit a post to “get across the great atmosphere of the Etihad”. The post, with the club’s crest attached, claimed that due to being drawn against Dynamo Zagreb, Shakhtar Donetsk and Atalanta, its “core fans are less likely to attend.”

It asked for male students, young professionals and those new to Manchester (aged 18 to 55) to post content that can “tell an authentic and genuine story of what it’s like to be at a game”. The Tribe post called on influencers to submit an image that showcases “the electrifying atmosphere that only Champions League live football matches can deliver”.

The attendance for Tuesday’s 5-1 victory over Atalanta at the 55,097-capacity Etihad Stadium was recorded at 49,308. Last season, it was widely reported that the club was averaging nearly 10,000 empty seats per game, with many across social media labelling it the ‘Emptihad.’ City has also recently taken out huge billboard ads in Manchester city centre to promote tickets for its European games.

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