Supermarkets tone down merchandise for English team

ENGLAND World Cup mechandise has been banned in some supermarkets in the Capital to protect Tartan Army sensitivities, it was revealed today.

Retail giant Asda, which has stores in Chesser, the Jewel and Leith, today confirmed customers will be unable to buy St George's flags or other products linked to the Auld Enemy's bid in South Africa for "commercial and diplomatic" reasons.

Asda customer John Langton, 40, said he was bemused by the company's decision.

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He said: "If you go to Asda at the Jewel, England are not in the World Cup.

"My partner, Caroline Earrey, has a background in marketing and she spotted it.

"We had been walking through the aisles for 45 minutes and didn't see one England flag even though there was lots of advertising for the World Cup including pictures of kids with Brazil and USA flags painted on their faces.

"Maybe they think having the St George's Cross all round the place will force them to lose customers. Either way, I think it's hilarious that they are not selling England merchandise."

Morrisions today also admitted it was watering down England's participation by failing to stock a single item of Three Lions merchandise in Scotland.

However, Sainsbury's has displayed no such concerns with a raft of products having been sent to Scottish supermarkets specifically in preparation for the World Cup.

As well as St George's Cross flags for 50p, Sainsbury's Murrayfield outlet even boasts inflatable England chairs, inflatable hands and children's lunchboxes all bearing the national flag.

In a statement, a Tesco spokesman said it was marking the tournament with a "World Cup party rather than England celebrations".

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An Asda spokesperson said the firm had conducted "extensive" research to determine who Scotland would be supporting in the tournament – and it would not be England.

"Maybe a minority would want to support England, the majority would find difficulty doing that," which is understandable," she said. "They are very proud of their own country. We have to be quite sensitive to the majority."

In a statement, Asda added: "Our Scottish customers and colleagues want to get behind the World Cup and so we have a host of football paraphernalia. in stores including flags, footballs, party food, takeaway deals and even Vuvuzelas.

"They told us that they probably wouldn't buy anything bearing the St George's Cross, but for those shoppers in Scotland who do want England flags, they can buy them on"

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