UPDATE: Rob Ford photo shows a tackle, not a tickle

City councillor Frank Di Giorgio says appearances can be deceiving

Rob Ford has promised "outright war" in the coming municipal election, but a tickle war?

At City Hall on Thursday, a Canadian Press photographer snapped a photo that appears to show a giggling mayor being tickled by budget chief Frank Di Giorgio.

The photo has been picked up by news agencies around the globe.

But Di Giorgio says he was not tickling the Mayor but rather sharing a joke about settling a dispute over the city budget on the football field.

"I went up to him and I said 'look, the best way to settle this is on the football field so why don't both of us get into a 3-point stance and fire out at one another," the Budget Chair says.

"What I did was imitate going out at him as two linemen would bump out at each other on the line (of scrimmage) and I essentially pushed him back because I got the jump on him ... it appears as if I'm tickling him but that's not what it is," he laughs.

Both Di Giorgio and Ford are ex-high school football coaches.

"(Ford) was angry but still understood that our disagreement wasn't personal," he says.

Di Giorgio shot down the suggestion that tickle fights might been a good way to ease tension in Toronto's often-rancorous council chamber.