Team GB accused of ‘defacing’ Union flag by turning it pink and purple for Paris Olympics


Team GB flag - Team GB slammed for 'defacing' Union flag for Paris Olympics

The £12.99 supporters’ flag has replaced the traditional red, white and blue design with a new colour scheme

The British Olympic Association is facing a backlash after a range of ‘Union Jack’ flags went on sale in different shades of colour as an additional option to the traditional red, white and blue.

In a change from the plain-bolded colours that are most associated with the British Olympic team, designers introduced options with squiggles and dots across colours that incorporate shades of pink and purple in a desire to “push the iconic red, white and blue as far as we could”.

The flags are on sale for fans in the official Team GB shop for £12.99 in the build-up to this summer’s Olympics Games in Paris.

Peter Shilton, the former goalkeeper who is the record appearance holder for England’s football team, condemned the move, saying “nothing is sacred”.

It follows the backlash over the changed St George’s Cross flag on the back of the collar of the England football shirt, although Team GB are adamant that the Union flag will appear “with pride” on the team kit which will be launched in the coming weeks.

They also said that they had received “very positive public feedback” for the flags.

“Rest assured the Union flag will feature proudly on the team kit for Paris, as it always does,” said a spokesperson. “This image doesn’t replace the Union flag, which we will wear with pride later this summer.”

Team GB flag – Team GB slammed for 'defacing' Union Jack by turning it pink and purple for Paris OlympicsTeam GB flag – Team GB slammed for 'defacing' Union Jack by turning it pink and purple for Paris Olympics

Team GB’s rebrand of the Union flag colours has been met with backlash from sports fans

The new Olympic design was branded a “union joke” on the front of The Sun newspaper on Tuesday. “I’m totally against any change to our national flag,” Shilton told the newspaper.

“It feels that nothing is held sacred these days in the UK. Our national flag has been symbolic for many years and should never be changed.”

Malcolm Farrow, president of the Flag Institute, also hit out. “People have every right to be upset with Team GB,” Farrow told The Sun. “They need to remember brave men fought for this flag and died while protecting it. Changing it is bordering on an insult to them.”

The different colours also appear on bunting that is on sale to fans, as well as water bottles and towels. Traditional red, white and blue products are also available to supporters, including flags and towels.

The flag change comes after the British Olympic Association employed Bath-based design company Thisaway to target a younger audience by increasing interest in athletics outside of the Olympics.

The designers were quoted as saying that they had refreshed the colours in a way that was “flexible and ownable”, arguing that there were still variations in red, white and blue.

“Rather than trying to look beyond the traditional colours, we decided to embrace them and push the iconic red, white and blue as far as we could,” they said.

Red was taken out of designs on Team GB’s London 2012 kit before it was restored for the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

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