There was a good old cover up at St James’ Park today ahead of the 2012 Olympics – with Sports Direct branding given the boot to comply with International Olympic Committee (IOC) regulations.
The Organising Committee of the 2012 Games (LOCOG) selected SJP to host nine football matches as part of the Olympics Football tournament.
This morning, workmen used white sheets to temporarily cover up Sports Direct branding around the stadium – with the aim being to avoid any conflict with Olympic sponsorship deals.
The tournament runs from 26th July to 11th August, with matches from both the men’s and women’s tournament being held at NUFC’s stadium during this period. It means there are no home pre-season matches for Newcastle this summer.
The club changed the name of St James’ Park to Sports Direct Arena in November 2011. At the time, managing director Derek Llambias said the move was a temporary measure until the club finds a new, permanent sponsor for the stadium.
A spokesman for the 2012 Olympics said:
“The Olympic rules are that you do not have commercial branding. As part of the agreement with venues we would cover up or work around the naming in the venue.
“Tickets have not been printed for games but in terms of sponsorship there will be no advertising or commercial branding.
“It will be called St James’ Park and all the venues that we’ve contacted for staging events do not have promotional material.”
The Olympics football fixtures to be held at SJP were confirmed in April. The likes of Brazil, Spain and Mexico will be in action.