Coe slapped down over Pepsi T-shirt ban

Seb Coe is a special adviser to Nike
Seb Coe is a special adviser to Nike
Ian Dunt By

Seb Coe was overruled by Olympics organisers today after he said people would not be allowed in to the Olympic Village wearing a Pepsi T-shirt.

The former athlete shocked listeners to Radio 4's Today programme this morning when he said people wearing clothes of sponsors' competitors would not be let into the Games.

"We had to raise through the organising committee a mountainous amount of money from the private sector," he explained.

"The organising committee pretty much raises all of its money through that area and we do it through sponsorship and we do it through broadcasting rights.

"You probably wouldn't be able to [walk in] with a Pepsi T-shirt because Coca-Cola are our sponsors and they've put millions of pounds into this project but also millions of pounds into grassroots sport. It is important to protect those sponsors."

Asked if people could enter wearing Nike trainers, Coe replied: "You probably would be able to walk through with Nike trainers."

The comments prompted mockery online, with some commentators pointing out that Coe has a paid position as special adviser to Nike.

But Coe was then overruled by Locog, the organising committee of the Games, which put out a statement saying ticket-holders would be "free to wear the clothing of their choice".

Locog said: "As an individual you are free to wear clothing of your choice… of course. Including trainers".

The brand row is just the latest in a series of disagreements over the use of Olympic branded logos and words. Butchers have been prevented from making Olympic rings using sausages and even the phrase 'twenty twelve' has been protected by organisers.


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