Football fans were left outraged after they were banned from displaying the St George’s flag at a game because it would ‘antogonise’ Welsh away fans.
Hundreds of loyal Bristol City fans paid £500 for red and white cardboard squares to hold up in the form of the St George’s Cross before kick off on Saturday.
But after the club realised it was the English flag they were aiming for and not a Remembrance poppy – the club vetoed the display over fears it would ‘antagonise’ Cardiff City supporters.
The display was planned and funded by Section 82, a Bristol City fan group.
Bristol City FC fans were banned from forming a St George’s flag with red and white cardboard squares when they arrived at Ashton Gate on Saturday
The managing director of Ashton Gate Stadium, Mark Kelly, said: ‘I’m personally very disappointed by the events surrounding the attempted display for the game against Cardiff City on Saturday.
‘The stadium was asked originally by S82 if there would be any objection to providing red and white square[s] on cardboard to present in the South Stand before kick-off, just ahead of the minute’s silence for Remembrance.
‘Ashton Gate’s head of security allowed late access to the stadium on Friday evening for the group to distribute the red and white cards.
‘At this time, we expected to see a pattern of a red poppy on a white background, or something similar.
The display was organised by fan group Section 82, who were outraged at the decision, which was made so Cardiff City supports were not ‘upset or antagonised’
Section 82 claim they had police approval for their planned display, which was vetoed by the club
‘However, it became apparent that what was actually being laid out was a St George’s Cross.
‘After dialogue with Ashton Gate’s head of security, the EFL [English Football League] and Avon and Somerset Police, all were agreed that positioning the St George’s Cross directly opposite the Wales fans, ahead of the minute’s silence, had the potential to be deeply antagonistic.
‘There was dialogue on Friday evening and Saturday morning between Ashton Gate, S82 and the SC&T to try and come to an agreement of using the display to just be a mosaic of red and white cards, rather than a formal St George’s Cross, however S82 refused.
‘It was clear from social media posts throughout Friday evening that the motive was always to display a St George’s Cross during the minute’s silence for Remembrance Day.
‘The Bristol City V Cardiff game had been identified by the police and SAG as a high risk event and was the subject of an extraordinary SAG meeting and a change of date due to perceived risk of trouble during the game at the stadium.
‘It is the duty of the stadium team to provide a safe environment for all and mitigate any risk or potential flashpoint.
‘Whilst reviewing this decision, the stadium team consulted with the EFL, AV&S police and the Cardiff City Safety Manager, all of whom supported the decision as positive risk aversion.’
Section 82 took to Twitter to express their anger, claiming they had police approval for the display: ‘Now being told by stewards no England flags allowed…but allowing Welsh. Disgrace.
Bristol City won the Cardiff City match on Saturday but fans were still ‘outraged’ at the decision
‘Club not allowing to support our country and be proud of our flag, a lot of time and money wasted.’
The fan group claimed stewards had moved the cards around so they weren’t in the form of the cross.
They also maintain Welsh flags were allowed – but not England ones.
A Bristol City spokesman denied these claims, saying individual English and Welsh flags were allowed, but not the large St George’s Cross display.
The ban also riled up fans on twitter. Adrian Williams said: ‘Pretty disappointing double standards or what!’
David Bright asked: ‘Is that racism? Just asking’
Billy Green added: ‘Absolutely disgusting, fly em high!’
The club told the Bristol Post there were attempts to come to an agreement with Section 82 for a mosaic of red and white cards but that the group refused.
The match had been identified by the police as a high risk event. A video on social media later showed rival fans clashing outside the stadium.
Bristol City won 2-1.
MailOnline has contacted Bristol City FC for comment.