Team GB to stick to traditional Union flag on 2024 Olympic kit after merchandise recall

The traditional red, white and blue design has been replaced by a new color scheme for the supporters’ flag £12

The British Olympic Association has vowed to stick to tradition and not mess with the classic red, white and blue Union flag on its 2024 Olympic kit after an outcry over the sale of ‘Union Jack’ merchandise in different colours.

In a change from the usual red, white and blue colors most associated with the British Olympic team, designers have introduced options with squiggles and dots across colors that incorporate shades of pink and purple as they want “the iconic red, white and blue to push as. as long as we could”.

However, the Telegraph has learned that the traditional Union flag will be worn by all Team GB athletes at the Paris Olympics this summer and that the wider kit does not use the same color palette that emerged following the collaboration of the BOA by Bath based design firm Thisaway.

Flags, bunting and water bottles were launched last June in the new color scheme and are on sale to fans in the official Team GB shop. The merchandise designs have sparked criticism following the outrage last week over the alteration of the St George’s Cross flag on the collar of England’s football shirt.

Adidas are the partners for Team GB’s official kit and the designs were completed two years ago. Athletes will officially reveal them on April 17.

“All Team GB athletes will wear the Union Jack as usual in Paris,” said a BOA spokesman.

It was also emphasized that the controversial new color scheme will only appear on select merchandise, along with some digital graphics, as part of a number of different designs used to appeal to all ages of fans.

Although it is expected that Team GB’s own kit will include various shades of blue or red, as has happened in previous years, including the London and Tokyo Games, it is not inspired by the colors on the merchandise which cross over into purple and pink.

It is understood that the Paris kits will adopt more traditional red, white and blue colors alongside the standard flag and are closer to the classic Team GB design.

The new flags, controversially branded as the ‘Union Jack Supporters Flag’, are on sale to fans in the official Team GB shop for £12. The bunting, which claims to be a ‘Union Jack pattern’, costs £13 and the metal water bottles in the new design colors sell for £17.50.

Former world javelin champion and world record holder Fatima Whitbread, who won silver and bronze at the 1988 and 1984 Olympics respectively, also won the ‘Union Jack’ merchandise.

“I’m embarrassed to think they’ve done it,” she told GB News. “Let’s face it, it represents the late Queen, it embodies everything that has been good about our country in recent years.

“I feel strongly about that. They should not have just gone ahead and changed the symbolic colors of the country. It’s about national pride and unity, as far as I’m concerned.”

Peter Shilton, former goalkeeper and record appearance holder for the England men’s football team, also criticized the different colors of the flag, saying “nothing is sacred”.

The new Olympic merchandise design was advertised as a “Union joke” on the front page of The Sun newspaper on Tuesday. “I am totally against any change to our national flag,” Shilton told the newspaper.

“It feels like nothing is sacred these days in the UK. Our national flag has been symbolic for many years and should not be changed.”

Malcolm Farrow, president of the Flag Institute, also struck out. “People have every right to be upset with Team GB,” Farrow told The Sun. “They must remember the brave men who fought for this flag and died defending it. To change it is an insult to them.”

‘Very positive feedback’

Team GB said they had received “very positive feedback from the public” regarding the flags. “This image does not replace the Union flag, which we will proudly wear later this summer,” a spokesman said.

Traditional red, white and blue products are also available to supporters, including classic Union flags and towels.

The designers were said to have refreshed the colors in a way that was “flexible and usable”, claiming that there were still variations in red, white and blue.

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

Whitbread added: “It’s about our country, it’s proud to say we’re Great Britain. Red, white and blue, it’s been that way for 223 years, so why change it?

“We are what we are. We’re not going to try to mash it into something else to be individual.

“We are a single country, our colors are red, white and blue, and that’s how it should stay. Our ancestors went to war for us and fought for all the different things we stand for now, which should not be destroyed either. I’m proud to be British.

“To me, the Union Jack is about national pride and unity, and it should be there for those young people. It is based on the history of what we are proud to be as a nation.”

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