London, May 21(ANI): An England football fan in Southampton has been left fuming after being told by a warden to remove England flags from outside his flat over safety reasons, and that the display could be construed “racist”.
Karl Staples had put up flags, bunting and balloons on the balcony of his council flat to show his support for the Three Lions ahead of next month’s World Cup in South Africa.
“I thought I’d put them up to support the boys. I just wanted to get people in the mood. I’m definitely in the mood, I can’t wait, so let’s get ready,” The Daily Star quoted Staples, as saying.
“If the players see stuff like that it’s going to boost them on a bit, but if they don’t they’re going to think there’s no-one behind us,”
However, Nicky Murphy, Southampton Council’s Executive Director of Neighbourhoods, said no worker had claimed the flags were racist and Staples was only asked to remove flags from communal areas.
“Southampton City Council is right behind England in the World Cup. We are supportive of any resident showing their support for the team. We would encourage people to fly the flag of whoever they support,” Murphy said.
“But, like every local authority in the country, shared communal halls and the sides of buildings need to be kept clear of objects, signs, posters and flags,” he added.
He further said that the council made the decision after a fire at a block of flats last month killed two firefighters.
“Recent events have shown how important it is to keep communal areas free from flammable objects. And any accusations of the council telling this resident that the flags are racist are completely untrue,” Murphy added. (ANI)