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.