Seb Coe: Pepsi Shirts And Clothing With Political Statements Banned At Olympics

From The Daily Fail:

Mean-spirited Olympics chiefs have already banned frisbees, flags and oversized hats in a list of oppressive rules to keep ticketholders under control.

But now it has emerged sports fans will also be hauled out of official London 2012 venues for daring to wear a Pepsi T-shirt - simply because it is not an accredited sponsor.

In the latest example of the increasing dominance of commercial sponsors in international sport, the draconian law was revealed by Olympic supremo Sebastian Coe today as he defended claims of a heavy-handed approach to protecting endorsers' rights.

Fizzy-drinks fans, however, can still get past the tightly guarded turnstiles as long as they only wear T-shirts bearing the slogan of bitter rivals Coca-Cola - an 'Official Olympics Partner'.

There was some good news for logo lovers, though, as Nike trainers would 'probably' be allowed through security despite not making the list of accredited brands, he told BBC's Today Programme.

Presenter Evan Davis challenged the former gold-winning athlete on whether he would be allowed to turn up to an event in a Pepsi T-shirt.

Lord Coe told him: '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 whether he could wear Nike trainers, Lord Coe said: 'I think you probably could...'

Among the many items banned at the Games, balls, long-lens cameras, clothing with political statements, noisemakers and bottled water are just a few on the list.

Pressed to give a definite answer, the peer said: 'Let’s put some reality in this. You probably would be able to walk through with Nike trainers. Does that satisfy you?'

His comments came weeks after organisers revealed a list of restricted items banned from the Games.

Frisbees are already banned, as are long-lens cameras, Che Guevara T-shirts and vuvuzelas.

Security will be tight with airport-style restrictions on liquids greater than 100ml and no more than one soft-sided bag is allowed and must fit under the spectator’s seat.

At the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, thousands of Dutch football fans wore patriotic orange clothing emblazoned with the name of Dutch beer Bavaria when the official tournament sponsor was rival Budweiser.

Unfortunately for them, officials took a dim view of the protest and forced them to watch their team in their underpants at a World Cup match after officials forced them to take off their patriotic orange lederhosen emblazoned with the name of Dutch beer Bavaria.

Lord Coe also hit out at the negativity surrounding the build-up to the Olympic Games.

The former athlete said people were 'overwhelmingly very positive' about the event, despite concerns over security, transport and strict sponsorship rules.

'There are things we have done really well,' he insisted, highlighting praise he had received from athletes and the international media about the facilities built for the Games.

Setting out the scale of the task, Lord Coe said: 'This is really, really complicated. This is the ability to stage in 19 days, in this city, 26 simultaneous world championships.'

Lord Coe said the venues had been 'built on time and to schedule' and the organising committee had 'raised the bar' in terms of delivering an Olympics.

But he added: 'This is a challenge, this is a very, very tough project. No city is challenged in the way a city is challenged when it delivers an Olympic Games.'

Asked whether a 'negative narrative' was taking hold, Lord Coe said: 'I’m neither cavalier about this or overly sanguine. It comes with the territory.'

He added: 'I’m talking to people who think they have come to a Games that has delivered in the areas that they need in a way that no Games has delivered before.

'I spent time in the village yesterday talking to athletes that were complimenting us about the Athletes’ Village we have presented.

'One Australian broadcaster came up to me - ‘I’ve been to four Games, this is by a distance the best broadcast facility’.

'Everywhere we go, the reality of it is people are overwhelmingly very positive about what we are doing.'

With the build-up to the Games overshadowed by the G4S guards row, Lord Coe said: 'Believe it or not, this is not a security event with a little bit of sporting overlay... the sport will start, the torch is arriving in London today, the sport will start literally hours after the opening ceremony.

'That’s what we have spent seven years delivering and I think the teams have done a pretty good job.'

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