Saturday, 22 May 2010

About that ban on England shirts...

As anyone with a Facebook account already knows, a depressingly large number of people believe the 'PC brigade' is planning to ensure no one steps inside a pub while wearing an England shirt for the entire duration of the World Cup, if not for all time.

None of them seem to have been much thought as to whether this was either true, likely, or even possible.

It seems to have started in the Sun, with the headline: Bid to ban England tops in World Cup pubs.

Unfortunately, once you read the first line of that article, with the all important 'could be banned' by 'killjoy cops' you knew it wasn't actually happening.

The more you read, the more it unravelled:

The advice comes in a letter from the Metropolitan Police to pubs in Croydon, South London.

Among World Cup guidance, it suggests 'dress code restrictions - eg no football shirts'.

So it's 'advice', rather than some all-encompassing, this-must-be-obeyed diktat. A Met Police spokesman said (when it was issued several weeks ago):

“There’s no obligation to follow the advice. It’s a series of suggestions sent to pubs in Croydon.”

And it's a letter from one police force, to pubs in one part of the country (where there were riots when England lost to France in the Euro 2004 championship - the advice also included plastic containers and extra security on the door).

And the advice it asks landlords to consider is actually 'no football shirts', not 'no England shirts'.

But apart from all that...

Sunny Hundal and Anton at Enemies of Reason (here and here) have already posted on this story, and debunked it, but as if to make it absolutely clear, the Met Police finally denied the story yesterday:

A spokesman said: "This letter contains a series of suggestions to make pubs safer for everyone.

"However, licensees are not obliged to follow our advice and there is no policy to stop the wearing of England shirts."

And an Inspector from West Midlands Police also denied there was any ban on flags:

"It is nonsense. Police officers are football fans too and patriotism should be an important part of enjoying the tournament in a fun and friendly atmosphere as long as people are sensible."

What is frightening is not just that people still manage to get whipped up by believing an obviously bogus story in the Sun, but that it unleashes a streak of anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim sentiment despite it being both untrue and nothing to do with either group.


  1. This whole situation is ridiculous. Pubs often ban the wearing of football shirts, it's nothing new.

    People are either just so gullible or just so desperate to have their prejudices massaged.

  2. I do think some people just really want to believe this stuff (witness the number of people who, even when presented with overwhelming evidence to the contrary simply refuse to acknowledge it, or become abusive towards the challenger). I think they must just like having their prejudices reinforced and wallowing in a sense of "justified" outrage.

    I'm not even going to think about it any more. It's too depressing.

  3. Well it is nice to know that it's just a bunch of bandwagonners. I knew it wasn't true from the get go. It seemed like a DM headline. But if you see the article in it today I think they must've seen those numerous groups sprouting up.

  4. It was actually my brother that alerted me to this facebook phenomenon, and then when i saw the first group i thought "well..... i am patriotic, but i think i shall have to research this, rather than jumping on the nearest bandwagon" and so i did, then finding that it was all from the SUN, which is full of rubbish anyway. The Daily Mail, has since, unsurprisingly joined in, quoting one incident of a bus driver refusing to allow a child on the bus with the England shirt on. One incident doesn't make something fact, because the fact is, there is no ban and people just look for anyway to "legitimately" express their hate for foreigners.... As far as i am concerned, anyone on this particular band wagon should be sent to africa to see how far their racist attitude gets them there!


    Try searching variations of "Pakis" and/or "flags", it's just mind-numbingly stupid.

  6. The Polish bus driver 'incident'?

    Suprise suprise.

  7. police are stopping people in cars in Bradford if they have flags in their cars. its disgusting

  8. Hearteningly, there are posts on the S*n discussion page debunking the story, eg 'Its only coming from Croydon coz when Zidane scored a penalty against us when we opened with France in Portugal, it sparked a 600 man riot. I know coz I was watching in the pub in which it started. This rumor has less fizz than a flat diet coke.'

  9. Just to add to the fake polish bus driver incident:

    She likes to lie for cash.... wonder if the Mail will press charges?

    For more like this:!/pages/Nobody-is-banning-any-England-shirts-you-gullible-xenophobic-fool/118126444889112?ref=ts


  10. It's also got a sister story that's made its merry way to the regional press.

    However, the good readership of the Worksop Guardian are capable of recognizing complete bollocks when they read it.

    Particularly those claiming they hail from Poland...


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