The advert featuring Ben Johnson has been banned in Australia ©Getty Images

A controversial advert for a sports betting company featuring disgraced sprinter Ben Johnson, which made light of the Jamaican-born Canadian's drug use, has been banned in Australia.

The Advertising Standards Board has taken the advert for Sportsbet off the air after finding it breached their rules.

They deemed it was unethical following an investigation and conveyed "performance-enhancing drug use in sport in a manner that is contrary to prevailing community standards on health and safety".

It comes after the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) launched a complaint.

During the advert, which promotes the company's mobile betting application, Johnson is described as the "88 Games 100m gold medallist".

However, he is accompanied by text on the screen reading "for 48 hours".

The 55-year-old Canadian was famously stripped of his 100 metres Olympic gold from Seoul 1988 for doping.

He lowered his own world record to 9.79 seconds in the South Korean capital but then tested positive for banned steroid stanozolol.

"When it comes to performance enhancement, Ben really knows his stuff," a voiceover on the advert says.

The mobile app is then described as "juiced-up".

Johnson adds: "It tested positive for speed and power, again and again."

The Advertising Standards Board accepted it was a parody but ruled that it contravened their regulations and has therefore been banned.

"In the Board's view the use of Ben Johnson in conjunction with a humorous message about drug use conveys a message that there is not a negative side to drug use and cheating and could be seen as a suggestion that there are benefits to gain from cheating or from behaviour that will enhance your performance," the report said.

"The Board also considered that, despite the parody, there is little consequence depicted for these actions as the athlete is portrayed in a positive way, rather than showing a negative side to the choices he made in his sporting career.

"In the Board's view, the overall tone of the advertisement makes light of the use of performance-enhancing drugs and of using performance-enhancing drugs to cheat in sport."

Sportsbet defended the advert despite the criticism, claiming they "thought it was pretty funny - but sections of the media lost their absolute minds".

The company said at the time that they had no plans to pull the advert.

Carl Lewis of the United States was awarded Johnson's gold medal from Seoul.