Team GB criticised for 'horrible' Union Flag redesign intended to appeal to new generation of fans for Paris Olympics

Tuesday 2 April 2024

Athletics fans have expressed anger after Team GB revamped the Union Jack with a "diverse" design for the Paris Olympics.

The redesign, crafted by Bath-based agency Thisaway, refreshes the colour palette in an attempt to appeal to a new generation of fans.

Designers have updated the iconic red, white, and blue colours of the flag, which they said were no longer "unique," for an abstract pattern of pink and purple.

The design appears on flags, bunting, water bottles and towels that are for sale on the Team GB website.

It comes after football fans angrily reacted to a modified St George's Cross on England's new football shirt for this years' Euros that will be played in Germany.

TalkTV's Julia Hartley Brewer said: "It's just horrible. Whoever designed this flag should be shot.

"We're told it's diverse and it's woke. Our country should always be represented by the colours of our flag. Please stop doing this."

Malcolm Farrow, president of the Flag Institute, said: "I don't approve of our national symbol of unity being modified. People have every right to be upset with Team GB.

"They need to remember that brave men fought for this flag and died while protecting it. Changing it is seen as disrespectful to their memory."

Team GB introduced a 'diverse design' for the Union Jack on merchandise ahead of the Paris Olympics.

Fans first spotted the design at the World Aquatic Championships in Doha, Qatar

He added, "Designs to commemorate special events like previous Olympics have put an approved badge in the centre and kept the flag the same. This is just a marketing gimmick."

Former England goalkeeper Peter Shilton told The Sun: "I'm totally against any change to our national flag. 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."

The controversy follows a similar backlash over the modified St George's Cross on England's football shirt

A spokesperson for Thisaway said: "While red, white, and blue are strongly associated with Great Britain, it's far from unique, with nations such as France and USA also sporting the same colours.

"We needed to find a way of refreshing Team GB's colour palette in a way that is both flexible and ownable.

"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."

Critics argue that the latest changes are seen as politically motivated. On Facebook, Steve Waller asked, "Is there an ulterior motive with these slight changes all the time? Is it all part of a big plan to phase out our traditional colours, or am I just being too cynical?"

Team GB responded, "Rest assured the Union Flag will feature proudly on the team kit for Paris, as it always does. This image doesn't replace the Union Flag, which we will wear with pride later this summer."