Sat. Apr 20th, 2024
alert-–-no-10-warns-‘don’t-mess’-with-national-flags-amid-fury-at-team-gb’s-‘inclusive’-pink-and-purple-union-jack-flag-rebrandAlert – No 10 warns ‘don’t mess’ with national flags amid fury at Team GB’s ‘inclusive’ pink and purple Union Jack flag rebrand

Rishi Sunak today repeated a warning that sports kit manufacturers ‘shouldn’t mess’ with national flags amid a row over Team GB’s ‘inclusive’ flag for the Paris Olympics.

Downing Street reiterated the Prime Minister’s view that the UK’s national flags are ‘perfect as they are’ after the controversy less than a fortnight ago over a redesigned St George’s Cross on the England men’s football shirt for Euro 2024 in Germany.

Asked about the controversial new Team GB merchandise following a rebrand of the Union Jack to now incorporate pink and purple colours, a Number 10 spokeswoman told reporters today: ‘I’ve not spoken to him about the specific Team GB kit.

‘He was asked previously about kit and he said his general view is that when it comes to our national flags we shouldn’t mess with them. They are a source of pride, identity, who we are and he thinks they are perfect as they are.

‘As he said at the time, in relation to the Euros kit, the PM is responsible for many things but the Euros kit and the Team GB kit aren’t one.’

Team GB's rebrand of the Union Jack colours, opting for pink and purple, has faced a backlash

Team GB’s rebrand of the Union Jack colours, opting for pink and purple, has faced a backlash

The new Team GB Union Jack branding which features pink and purple colours on the flag

The new Team GB Union Jack branding which features pink and purple colours on the flag 

Rishi Sunak, pictured with Gareth Southgate at St George's Park on October 10 last year

Rishi Sunak, pictured with Gareth Southgate at St George’s Park on October 10 last year

The new rebrand has been met with a backlash from sports fans and former England goalkeeper Peter Shilton.

He told The Sun: ‘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.’

And Malcom Farrow, president of the Flag Institute charity, said he didn’t ‘approve’ of the ‘national symbol of unity’ being ‘defaced’.

The designers, Bath-based agency Thisaway, said they needed to find a way to ‘refresh’ the colour palette in a way that was both ‘flexible and ownable’.

A statement on their website said that although the red, white and blue colours were ‘synonymous with Great Britain’, they were ‘far from unique’.

It is a wholesale rebrand which looks to appeal to a ‘new generation of sports fans’, with flags and T-shirts available to purchase on the website.

Team GB said they had received ‘very positive’ feedback from members of the public regarding the rebrand. The Team GB ‘Supporters Flag’ is available for £12 while the bunting is £13 and T-shirts are £26.50.

It comes after Mr Sunak voiced his dislike of the multi-coloured St George’s Cross on England’s new kit last month, saying we ‘should not mess’ with national flags.

A Team GB water bottle featuring the new Union Jack rebrand ahead of the Paris Olympics

A Team GB water bottle featuring the new Union Jack rebrand ahead of the Paris Olympics

Team GB bunting

Team GB flag

The new rebrand is featured on flags, bunting and t-shirts available to purchase on the website

The FA and Nike defended changes to the St George's Cross on the England shirt last month

The FA and Nike defended changes to the St George’s Cross on the England shirt last month

The Prime Minister joined a chorus of criticism from former England players, politicians and fans, who condemned manufacturer Nike and the Football Association over the new blue, purple and red design.

READ MORE Design agency behind Team GB’s ‘inclusive’ pink and purple Union Jack rebrand updated flag because ‘its colours are far from unique’ – after being told by British Olympic Association to find a new look ‘for fans of all ages and backgrounds’

Asked about the redesign on a visit to Derbyshire, Mr Sunak, who supports Southampton FC, said: ‘I’d prefer the original (flag) and my general view is that when it comes to the national flags we should not mess with them because they are a source of pride and identity – who we are – and they are perfect as they are.’

Nike said the new blue, red and purple flag represented a ‘playful update’ while cuffs in the same colours were intended as a homage to the 1966 World Cup winning squad’s training kit. 

The colours are similar to those of the bisexual pride flag – blue, pink and purple.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the England flag is a ‘unifier’ which ‘doesn’t need fixing’.

Another ex-England goalkeeper, David Seaman, said he believed many in his generation of players would have refused to wear it.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the England flag is a ‘unifier’ which ‘doesn’t need fixing’

But Nike and the FA defended the change, with a spokesman for the latter saying the new kit had a ‘number of design elements’ paying tribute to the 1966 World Cup winners.