EXCL England fans ‘afraid to fly St George’s Cross’ because of far right, says shadow sports minister
England fans were afraid to fly the St George’s Cross during the World Cup because of its association with far-right politics, Labour’s shadow sports minister has claimed.
In an interview with The House magazine, Rosena Allin-Khan said fewer flags had been flown than in previous competitions, because people associated them with “far-right ideology”.
She also suggested that a growing reluctance to display the St George’s Cross could be down to Brexit divisions.
She said: “I do feel this time, particularly given how well we did, there was a significant lack of St George’s crosses.
“I think that many people feel that flying a St George’s cross is synonymous with far-right ideology and that sometimes prevents them from doing so because they don’t want to be perceived as such.
“During previous World Cups between 2000-2010 you could walk 20 metres and see flags in windows, flags on cars, flags on shops.
“Despite more sprouting up as the tournament went on, there’s been a noticeable difference.
"I think there is a reluctance to do so because shops may not want to feel they’re not being welcoming to members of the community, and perhaps Brexit has a part to play in that.”
Elsewhere in the interview the shadow minister reiterated Labour’s backing for safe standing at top-flight football grounds – an idea that the government has recently agreed to consider.
She said: “This is about moving football spectating forward into a new era, making it accessible for all, whether you want to go with young children, whether you’re a wheelchair user, whether you have sight impairment, audio impairment, whether you are old and can’t jump up and stand.
“It’s about making it accessible and safe for everybody.”