Fury as Team GB’s Union Jack goes woke: Designers decide to ditch red, white and blues for ‘diverse’ pink and purple rebrand – to ‘refresh the colour palette’ and make it ‘flexible and ownable’

Fury as Team GB’s Union Jack goes woke: Designers decide to ditch red, white and blues for ‘diverse’ pink and purple rebrand – to ‘refresh the colour palette’ and make it ‘flexible and ownable’

Team GB‘s ‘diverse’ rebrand of the Union Jack — incorporating pink and purple colours — has been met with backlash from sports fans and football legend Peter Shilton CBE.

Designers for Team GB, Bath-based agency Thisaway, said they needed to find a way to ‘refresh’ the colour palette in a way that was both ‘flexible and ownable’.

A statement on their website said that although the red, white and blue colours were ‘synonymous with Great Britain’, they were ‘far from unique’.

It is a wholesale rebrand which looks to appeal to a ‘new generation of sports fans’, with flags and t-shirts available to purchase on the website. 

It comes as a similar row broke out after the launch of England’s new kit for the Euros 2024, which featured an altered version of the St George’s cross on the collar. 

Former England goalkeeper Peter Shilton CBE has shared his disappointment at the new design.

He told The Sun: ‘It feels that nothing is held sacred these days in the UK. Our national flag has been symbolic for many years and should never be changed.’

Great Britain's Tom Daley (left) and Matty Lee celebrate winning gold on the third day of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan, as they hold a GB flag in the traditional colours

The new Team GB Union Jack which features pink and purple colours

A Team GB water bottle featuring the new Union Jack rebrand brought out ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympics

Team GB Supporters bunting

Team GB Supporters handwaver flag

Malcom Farrow, president of the Flag Institute charity, said he didn’t ‘approve’ of the ‘national symbol of unity’ being ‘defaced’.

The full statement on the Thisaway website reads: ‘As with many sport brands, colour was a point of contention. Obviously red, white and blue is synonymous with Great Britain, but it’s far from unique, with other competing nations such as France and USA also sporting the same colours. 

‘We needed to find a way of refreshing Team GB’s colour palette in a way that is both flexible and ownable.

‘Rather than trying to look beyond the traditional colours, we decided to embrace them and push the iconic red white and blue as far as we could. 

‘The result is a vibrant and varied colour palette that has the versatility to be restrained and traditional in one breath, and bold and contemporary in the next. 

‘The core palette is also complimented by the three other colours that go hand-in-hand with the Olympic Games; gold silver and bronze.’

Team GB said they had received ‘very positive’ feedback from members of the public regarding the rebrand.

The Team GB ‘Supporters Flag’ is available for £12 while the bunting is £13 and t-shirts are £26.50.  

It comes as the FA and Nike were forced to defend their changes to the St George’s cross on England’s shirt last month.

FA and Nike were forced to defend their changes to the St George's cross on England's shirt

England captain Harry Kane, here pictured wearing the new home shirt

Nike describe the navy, light blue and purple colours as a ‘playful update’ on the nation’s flag. They say the changed kit is not virtue-signalling but instead a nod to the 1966 World Cup winners.

Fans and commentators disagree and have reacted angrily since the release of the kit — which England will wear at Euro 2024 this summer — branding it ‘woke’ and ‘dumb’.

‘No other country would allow this to happen,’ said Mail Sport columnist Simon Jordan.

‘They wouldn’t allow it to be done on their national shirt. This is the same Nike who couldn’t even be bothered to produce Mary Earps (Lionesses keeper) shirts.

‘I don’t think we should be taking lessons from Nike on the values of this country. And the FA are absolutely complicit. The FA will have their virtue-signalling fingers all over this.

England's teams are set to benefit from technology developed in the Nike Sport Research Lab which has been implemented into the new playing jerseys

Sutton labelled the new shirts a 'massive cock-up' and likened the design process to something out of The Apprentice

Jordan said he 'could not understand why Nike wanted a

The kit designer revealed that the update to the St Georges cross was to 'unite and inspire'

England's alternate strip is said to take inspiration from kits of the past and boasts a purple colourway

Nike say the new kit designs are a nod to the Three Lions' 1966 World Cup winning side

‘I don’t quite understand why Nike want to have a ‘playful’ brief on our identity. I don’t understand why we would want to do this. Is our national identity a joke, is it something we’re ashamed of?

‘Our national identity is something we should be proud of. I don’t find this offensive. I find it unnecessary.’

However, Nike will not alter the jersey, which they claim is a nod to England’s 1966 training gear and is said to have ‘flown off the shelves’ since its release on Monday.

That did not impress Chris Sutton, who described the design as a ‘load of b******s’ on our It’s All Kicking Off podcast.

‘To unite and inspire?’ he added. ‘By changing a flag? It’s like The Apprentice when Lord Sugar sends them out to do tasks. It looks like a massive c**k-up. What are they thinking? 

‘I’m not going to get angry, it’s a kit design. But I do understand there will be a lot of people around the country who are going to say it doesn’t represent England and shouldn’t represent England. It’s stupid. It’s dumb.’ 

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also waded into the debate, saying: ‘The flag’s unifying, it doesn’t need to change. We just need to be proud of it. So I think they should just reconsider this and change it back.’


Megan Howe

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