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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Union Jack flying half-mast; distraught fans and the wild reaction of UK over football loss

Flying a flag at half-staff means that the flag is flying halfway on the flagpole –Flags fly in instances of national distress, remembrance and recognition of various holidays, or following the death of certain governmental officials. In UK, according to protocol, Union Flag must be flown the correct way up. This is with the wider diagonal white stripe above the red diagonal stripe in the half nearest to the flag pole. The wider diagonal white stripe should be above the red diagonal stripe at the top left hand side of the Flag nearest the flag pole.  Half-mast means the flag is flown two-thirds of the way up the flagpole with at least the height of the flag between the top of the flag and the top of the flag pole. If more than one flag is flown, they should all be raised at half-mast or not flown at all. Flags of foreign nations should not be flown unless their country is also observing mourning.

It was a battle-cry delivered with a grin, in keeping with Iceland’s approach to Euro 2016, but it was a battle-cry nonetheless as joint-coach Heimir Hallgrimsson invoked the spirit of the Cod Wars ahead of his team’s second round clash against England. “This was the only time Iceland went to war,” Hallgrimsson, a practising dentist, said. One needs to read all UK newspapers to understand the anguish and deep-rooted pain with which they decry their loss to Iceland.  As if the scenario needed any other parallels with last week's vote in which Britain chose to leave the European Union, England's coach, Roy Hodgson, announced his resignation after the upset loss, similar to David Cameron announcing he would abandon the prime minister's office. 

Agreeing to the national passion for the game, the Union flag flown at half-mast on Nice beach after England's Euro 2016 humiliation looks carrying things too faaar.  MailOnline reports that the  Union flag was flying at half-mast on a beach in Nice this morning - a day after England's dismal exit from the Euros. As the flag at the Promenade Des Anglais beach was lowered, fans told of their sadness over the national teams failure to stay in the championship. England were dumped out of the tournament last night after a humiliating 2-1 defeat to Iceland in the Allianz Riviera Stadium in Nice.

Every England fan could see that we needed to make changes to the team but their coach  Roy Hodgson did nothing until it was too late.  Many of the fans who had followed the team’s fortune to France were distraught.  One said,  'I had bought tickets for Paris thinking England would be playing there – but I sold them when we were drawn to Nice. 'I should have kept those tickets and watched Wales. At least they won.' Another quipped 'I travelled from Toronto to watch England and they lost. I've spent a fortune on getting here and on tickets to the matches. 'I just can't see where we go from here. We have no team, no manager, no spirit.'

More misery was in store for the fans after the defeat  as they struggle to get home - thanks to strikes and demonstrations in France.  Hundreds of flights and trains cancelled or delayed during industrial action; taxi  drivers in Nice increased their rates as England fans tried to leave city.  Even buses and trams were refusing to operate in cities such as Nice, where England lost to Iceland on Monday night, ensuring the end of their European championships adventure. After the defeat, there was more misery for the fans. While Rooney and his teammates boarded the private coach, fans were forced to pay hiked up taxi prices as drivers in the city took advantage of the misery.  An angry fan stated - ‘The England players will be all right – they’ll get home on a private plane, after letting us all down. It’s us who’ll be left to suffer.’ Two thousand riot police were meanwhile flooding central Paris as the French authorities braced themselves for another day of street violence. Up to 60 people were arrested, as the police used water cannon, tear gas, pepper spray and baton charges to maintain the peace.

Even in the melee, some devastated England fans were  making a profit out of their own misery by selling their tickets to this weekend's Euros for TWICE their value.  Supporters who picked up tickets to the matches in Lille and Paris are desperately trying to flog them to Welsh and Icelandic fans instead after England's shock defeat in Nice last night. While some were happy to just get the face value back, there are some with an eye on a bit of extra cash to soothe them during their time of sorrow.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

28th June 2016

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