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FLAMING LIBERTY; THE CRACKDOWN LONDON 2012.

Byline: JAMES LYONS

OLYMPIC fans have been warned they could be turned away from the Games if they arrive wearing the wrong brand of clothing.

Organiser Lord Coe said draconian rules are in place to protect corporate sponsors who have paid a fortune to be associated with the spectacle.

Supporters who innocently turn up at sporting events in Pepsi T-shirts, for example, are likely to be turned away because the logos would upset Coca Cola. And those in Nike trainers face a ban because Adidas are backing the Games.

In a fractious radio interview, Lord Coe was asked if a fan in a Pepsi shirt would be allowed in. He replied sternly: "No.

"You probably wouldn't be walking in with a Pepsi T-shirt because Coca-Cola are our sponsors and they have put millions of pounds into this project but also millions of pounds into grassroots sport. It is important to protect those sponsors."

Asked about Nike trainers, the Tory peer stumbled and when pushed for an answer snapped: "Let's put some reality in this. You probably would be able to walk through with Nike trainers. Does that satisfy you?"

Lib Dem peer Lord Oakeshott slammed Lord Coe's remarks.

He said: "Most people would think it ridiculous for a child who may only have one pair of trainers to be turned away for wearing the wrong brand."

The Locog organising committee later backtracked on Lord Coe's remark insisting the real issue was with rival brands trying to hijack the event. A spokesman said: "Spectators can wear any brand of trainers they want. Individuals wearing brands is fine. If people were to come in a large group with visible branding that is when there could be an issue."

The dress code is just the latest barmy example of the heavy-handed approach being taken on branding in the run-up to the Games.

A cafe manager who displayed five bagels in the style of the Olympic rings was ordered to take them down by community wardens in Southwark, South London.

A Stoke florist was told to remove paper tissue rings from her window and a butcher in Weymouth, Dorset, had to take down five rings made from sausages.

The Nike symbol has been altered at Old Trafford before the stadium hosts the GB Olympic football team next week.

The US sportswear giant is not one of the sponsors of the Games so all traces of its logo are being removed from Olympic venues.

Even the man who transformed the Olympics movement into a multibillionpound enterprise has slammed the London organisers for their approach. Former International Olympic Committee marketing director Michael Payne said the rules he drew up were "never intended to shut down the flower shop that puts its flowers in Olympic rings in the window, or the butcher who has put his meat out in Olympic displays".

Under fire Lord Coe also spoke out about the G4S fiasco, saying: "Believe it or not, this is not a security event with a little bit of sporting overlay." Whitehall's chief security official Charles Farr yesterday claimed the Games would be more secure as a result of the shambles. He said: "We've resolved the hitch and one could argue we've come out of it stronger."

And Home Secretary Theresa May angrily denied charges that she had been "selective" over what she told MPs about the mounting problems. Ed Miliband yesterday urged unions not to strike on the eve of the Olympics.

Home Office staff, including immigration officials, plan walkouts that could spark chaos at airports. The Labour leader said: "I implore them not to go ahead. Nothing must be allowed to disrupt the Games."

You're definitely not coming in..

CAPTION(S):

SAUCY MOVE Burger van near McDonald's at Olympic Park TORCH GIRL Dame Kelly Holmes at the Tower of London yesterday NO-LIKEY NIKE Nike symbol at Old Trafford has been changed for Games WOW Marine abseiling with torch STAR TURN Kelly with Beefeaters
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 21, 2012
Words:657
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