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Alyn Seeks U-turn On Saltire Ban At Olympics

Olympics bosses have banned Scotland’s historic national flag during the games this summer, it has been revealed.

The Saltire is set to be locked out of Scotland’s National Stadium Hampden Park when Olympics events take place – because the organisers say Scotland isn’t a country.

The snub has been discovered by SNP European Parliament member Alyn Smith, who has now written to games supremo Lord Coe demanding that the ban is immediately overturned.

With Hampden set to host eight matches as part of the Olympic football competition, any clampdown on the Saltire is likely to provoke fury among home-based football fans.

Alyn said:

“It seems incredible that under the current games rules, Scots will be banned from taking their own national flag into their own national stadium.

“I can only imagine this is an oversight and hope that once I point it out to Lord Coe, he will move quickly to make sure that common sense prevails and that fans who wish to proudly wave the Saltire will be free to do so."

The problem has arisen because under the terms and conditions of ticket sales for the games, supporters are not permitted to enter any venue for any event while carrying  “flags of countries not participating in the games”.

Because all participating Scots have to compete in the Olympics solely under the Great Britain banner, Scotland is not regarded as a country and so falls foul of the rules.

Alyn continued:

“The Olympic Games is one of the biggest events in world sport and should be a real festival of global culture and achievement and international companionship.

“It’s natural that Scots who will be attending the games will want to demonstrate their pride through our national flag - just as many in Wales will wish to attend games in Cardiff while displaying the Welsh flag. They, too, deserve a fair kick of the ball.”

Alyn pointed out that the ban raised more controversial questions: Will the SFA be forced to remove saltires from the home of Scottish football? And will kids who have their faces painted with the saltire be turned away at the turnstiles?

“The games should be a party - something for citizens young and old to enjoy and remember for years to come. That is the true spirit of the Olympics and I hope Seb Coe will quickly realise it."