EXCL England fans ‘afraid to fly St George’s Cross’ because of far right, says shadow sports minister

Posted On: 
20th July 2018

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.

Ms Allin-Khan replaced Sadiq Khan as the Labour MP for Tooting in June last year
Credit: 
PA

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.   

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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.”