THE British Olympic Association (BOA) has said it will not change the traditional Union flag on its 2024 Team GB kit following a backlash over the sale of merchandise that features the flag in different colours.

Flags, bunting and water bottles were launched last June in a new colour scheme featuring shades of pink and sky blue as well as patterns of squiggles and dots.

British javelin star Fatima Whitbread – who broke the world record in 1986 – said she was "disgusted" with the changes.

Peter Shilton, the former goalkeeper and record appearance holder for the England men’s football team, also condemned the different flag colours, saying “nothing is sacred”. 

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In response to the fallout, it has been confirmed the Union flag will be used on the arms of all Team GB athletes' kit at the Paris Olympics – and the wider kit will not use the same colour palette that emerged following the BOA’s collaboration with the Bath-based design company Thisaway.

The designers said the new scheme was used to "push the iconic red, white and blue as far as we could".

Products with the new colour scheme have been on sale for fans in the official Team GB shop but the designs have provoked criticism following outrage last week over the changed St George's Cross flag on England's Euro 2024 home kit.

The National: Fatima Whitbread complained about the changes to the flag on GB NewsFatima Whitbread complained about the changes to the flag on GB News (Image: GB News)

On the BOA changes, Whitbread told GB News: “I'm absolutely disgusted to think they’ve done it. Let’s face it, it represents our late Queen, it represents everything that embraces what's good about our country as years have gone by.

“I feel strongly about that. No way should they have just gone ahead and changed the country’s symbolic colours.

“It is about national pride and unity, as far as I'm concerned.”

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak spoke out over changes to the England flag during the football kit furore and that stance was reiterated on Tuesday in respect of the Olympics.

“His general view is that when it comes to our national flags, we shouldn’t mess with them,” said his spokesperson.

“They’re a source of pride, identity, who we are, and he thinks they’re perfect as they are.”

Adidas are the partners for the official Team GB kit and the designs were completed some two years ago. They will be officially unveiled by athletes on April 17.

“All Team GB athletes will wear the Union Jack as normal in Paris,” said a BOA spokesperson.

The new colour scheme is only set to appear on a selection of merchandise, as well as some digital graphics, as part of a number of different designs that have been used to appeal to all ages of fans.

The new flags are on sale for fans in the official Team GB shop for £12. The bunting costs £13 and the sold-out metal water bottles in the new design retail at £17.50.

Team GB said that it had received “very positive public feedback” for the flags.

“This image doesn’t replace the Union flag, which we will wear with pride later this summer,” added a spokesperson.