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Arsenal may ban flags

Source: Londra Gazete  
09 December 2006

ARSENAL Football Club looks set to ban all national flags from being flown in its new Emirates Stadium following clashes over the appearance of a North Cyprus flag at matches.

The club has been in talks with Greek Cypriot petitioners this week who took umbrage at a lone Turkish Cypriot flag being flown by a season ticket holder.

Turkish Cypriot fan Mete Ahmed was also invited back to a meeting with Arsenal’s Managing Director Keith Edelman on Saturday, signalling that the issue – previously resolved in his favour - was back on the table.

The meetings have led to speculation that the club may be considering a blanket ban of all national flags, including Union Jacks and the St George’s flag.

Arsenal were unable to confirm the rumours when the Gazette went to press.

However this is thought to be the only other action available to Arsenal, who previously determined that prohibiting the flag of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus would be tantamount to discrimination against Turkish Cypriots.

The club took the decision after seeking advice from the Home Office, and hearing appeals from the TRNC Representative Office, who argued that a similar flag is displayed daily outside their Bedford Square offices.

They were also referred to a recent High Court ruling against Transport for London, who tried to ban adverts for North Cyprus holidays from London buses.

FEELINGS FLARE AT DERBY

Greek Cypriot fans continued to protest the decision to allow the flag, presenting a petition to the football club last week that led to new talks.

Protestors also flooded the Emirates Stadium with flags of the Republic of Cyprus at the north London derby on Saturday, in defiance of the Turkish Cypriot banner.

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