The 2018 World Cup is due to kick off on 14 June when hosts Russia take on Saudi Arabia at Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium.
As reported by The Morning Advertiser, Greene King instructed pubs to remove the flag of Saudi Arabia from World Cup bunting it supplied to its managed estate following a complaint about sacred text, known as the Shahada, being displayed in pubs. The Islamic statement of faith reads: “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger.”
After the Bury St Edmunds-based pubco instructed operators of its pubs to remove the flag, Mitchells & Butlers - operators of more than 1,700 pubs and restaurants across the UK - has followed suit.
An email seen by The Morning Advertiser states:
“We have been made aware that it is inappropriate to display the Saudi Arabia flag where alcohol is being sold. Therefore, we have taken the decision to remove the Saudi Arabia flag from all our World Cup bunting.”
The email asks that operators “immediately cut the Saudi Arabia flag from bunting” and check any “additional materials” and remove the Saudi Arabia flag from these.
The email also includes an image of the Saudi Arabia flag for operator reference.
A Mitchells & Butlers spokesperson commented: “After consideration we’ve removed the Saudi Arabia flag from our businesses as it could be deemed inappropriate to display it where alcohol is being sold.”