Critics slam ban on flying saltire above Hampden during Olympic Games

Flag: The film showcases 715 images with a saltire in the centre.
Flag: Olympic spokesman said 'common sense' would be applied to fans.

Olympic rules banning the flying of the saltire above Scotland's national stadium during the Games have come under criticism.

The rule could also stop fans waving the national symbol when events are held at Hampden this summer, it has been claimed.

Under Olympic rules, Scottish athletes represent Great Britain, meaning only the Union flag should officially be flown at venues.

Alyn Smith, an SNP member of the European Parliament, has complained to Lord Coe, chairman of the London 2012 organising committee.

Mr Smith said: "It seems incredible that under the current Games rules, Scots will be banned from taking their own national flag into their own national stadium.

"I can only imagine this is an oversight and hope that once I point it out to Lord Coe, he will move quickly to make sure that common sense prevails and that fans who wish to proudly wave the saltire will be free to do so."

The rule hit the headlines during the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games in 2002. Skier Alain Baxter, from Aviemore, was ordered to cover up a blue and white saltire he had dyed into his hair before competing.

Terms and conditions on tickets for the 2012 Games state there should be no flags of countries that are not participating.

The rule will mean the saltire cannot fly over Hampden, a spokesman for the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games confirmed. "Common sense" would be applied for fans, as long as there was no political statement linked to the flag or emblem, the spokesman said.

Mr Smith said: "The Olympic Games is one of the biggest events in world sport and should be a real festival of global culture and achievement and international companionship.

"It's natural that Scots who will be attending the Games will want to demonstrate their pride through our national flag. Just as many in Wales will wish to attend games in Cardiff while displaying the Welsh flag. They too deserve a fair kick of the ball."

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