World Cup 2018: Can you fly an England flag from your car during Fifa football tournament?
The England team is jetting off today for the World Cup in Russia area of their first Group G game against Tunisia on Monday.
During major sports tournaments Brits like to show their support for the team by flying flags from their cars, but can you get into trouble for doing so?
Recently, the Government altered the regulations that dictate which type of flags you can and cannot fly in England.
The full list of flags that do not require consent are:
(a) Any country’s national flag, civil ensign or civil air ensign;
(b) The flag of the Commonwealth, the European Union, the United Nations or any other international organisation of which the United Kingdom is a member;
(c) A flag of any island, county, district, borough, burgh, parish, city, town or village within the United Kingdom;
(d) The flag of the Black Country, East Anglia, Wessex, any Part of Lincolnshire, any Riding of Yorkshire or any historic county within the United Kingdom; (e) The flag of Saint David;
(f) The flag of Saint Patrick;
(g) The flag of any administrative area within any country outside the United Kingdom;
(h) Any flag of Her Majesty’s forces;
(i) The Armed Forces Day flag.
Changes to the rules were made as a result of health and safety issues following the 2010 World Cup where councils asked for a number of flags to be removed.
Before then it was illegal to fly a national flag without the permission of a local council, except if flown from a vertical flagpole.
However, a compromise was made to permit flags being flown during a special occasion, such as major sports tournaments.
The law is a little more complicated when it concerns flying flags from cars.
Flags mustn’t obscure the driver’s vision and use be safely secured and not be at risk of coming off and causing damage or injury.
They should also be about the size of an A4 flag or smaller because larger flags have more potential to cause problems.
There is an offence of having a mascot/emblem on the car that, if the vehicle were to collide with someone, the mascot would strike them and cause injury.
If the mascot is not likely to cause injury to a person by reason that it may bend, retract or detach itself from the vehicle then no offence would be committed.
Mark Roberts, the Deputy Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police, has warned fans not to take flags to Russia for the tournament, saying: “It can come across as imperialistic and cause antagonism.”
Black Country MP John Spellar (Lab Warley), ridiculed this claim saying who said: “It may be that there are problems with organised Russian groups targeting foreign fans and our police should be liaising with their Russian counterparts to deal with that.
“To come out with a load of sociological gobbledygook makes one wonder what on earth the Top Brass in the police are thinking.
“I bet this doesn’t reflect the view of the public in South Yorkshire and it certainly isn’t the view in the West Midlands.”