The flags of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be banned from the arena at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, but the European Union and Rainbow flags will be permitted.
Contest rules mean the flags will be prohibited in order to keep the contest free from “political statements, unauthorised commercial messages and offensive comments”.
According to an official document, fans in the arena will be allowed to fly the flags of participating countries, along with any other state that is a member of the United Nations.
However, the rules forbid the flying of “local, regional and provincial flags”. A spokesman confirmed to Breitbart London that this will include the flags of the constituent countries of the UK.
The spokesman said that the policy “is not aimed against any organisation or territory specifically”, but nonetheless admitted that “flags from Scotland for example would not be permitted since it does not fall into either of these categories.”
The document does, however, expressly permit the European Union and Rainbow flags “provided they will… not be used as tool to intentionally make a political statement during the show.”
The guidelines have already caused considerable controversy in Spain, with a draft version specifically listing the flag of the Basque Country as prohibited alongside the banner of Islamic State.
The Basque regional government expressed its outrage to Swedish embassy in Madrid and called on Spain’s state broadcaster to ask that it be removed from the list immediately.
“Its inclusion alongside the flag of Daesh [an alternative name for Islamic State], even though it is only an example, is not acceptable,” the Basque government said.
Eurovision has now apologised for including the flag, known as the Ikurriña, on the list and issued a new version of the guide without examples.
The contest organisers said: “If the portraying of the flags in the document has offended anyone, we of course apologise for that.”