Imitation Barcelona shirts sold in Saudi Arabia have a club emblem doctored to exclude the St George's Cross, the municipal flag of the Spanish city, La Vanguardia newspaper reported Saturday.
The Barcelona-based daily, citing Spanish residents in the Saudi capital Riyadh, said the horizontal bar to the red cross on white background had been omitted from the shirts' badges.
Club officials in Barcelona were not immediately available for comment.
La Vanguardia said that the club had been informed of the sale of fake shirts in Muslim countries, notably with the altered cross of Sant Jordi, but thought they were not sold in shops.
The paper said the alteration was down to a fear of offending Muslims by the cross' connotation to the Crusades during the 12th and 13th centuries when English soldiers adopted the St George's Cross as they attempted to recapture Jerusalem and the Holy Land from Muslim rule.
Earlier this week the Turkish media were up in arms over Inter Milan's choice of jersey, a huge St George's cross on a white background, while playing against Istanbul side Fenerbahce.
Inter said they had worn the strip to celebrate the club's 100th birthday.Source: AFP (English)
See also: La Vanguardia (Spanish), Champions League: Milan's jersey offends Turks