The advertisement for betting company Sporting Index showed Jesus with one arm around a bikini-clad woman and the other holding a bottle of champagne, with the slogan, ‘There’s a more exciting side to Brazil’.

Its appearance in City A.M. and Racing Post drew complaints from 25 readers, including the EA. The ASA also found against it because it broke rules linking gambling with sexual success, although no complaints were received about this aspect of the image.

EA director of advocacy Dr Dave Landrum said: ‘We are grateful that the Advertising Standards Authority has upheld the alliance’s view on behalf of Christians everywhere. ‘This advertisement was in poor taste and clearly likely to cause offence.’