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No frisbees, picnic hampers or vuvuzelas: Items banned from the London 2012 Olympics

Organisers come under fire after releasing list of restricted objects for 2012 venues
  • @tompeck

Many of those lucky enough actually to have tickets to the games this summer have reacted with surprise to the organisers' latest diktat, restricting what they can actually take with them to the Games to a small handful of items.

The Beijing games was routinely criticised for its seemingly high levels of oppressing political dissent, but at London, "any objects or clothing bearing political statements" will not be allowed. In keeping with airport-style security measures, liquids can only be brought in containers of up to 100 ml, although an empty bottle can be brought in, and free drinking water is available on the park.

Food must not be in "excessive amounts" – yes to sandwiches, no to picnic hampers, which would may not fit through the bag scanners anyway.

"Balls, rackets, frisbees or similar objects or projectiles, noisemakers such as hunting horns, air horns, klaxons, drums, vuvuzelas and whistles" are all also on a two-page list of restricted items sent to all ticket-holders yesterday.

"Large flags (bigger than 1 metre x 2 metres), oversized hats, and large golf-style umbrellas" are also not allowed.

"Flags of countries not participating in the Games," are also not allowed, though an exception has been made for the individual flags of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Whether the aboriginal flag Cathy Freeman memorably draped around her shoulders after winning the 400 metres in Sydney would be permitted seems a murky issue. It is not a national flag as such, but is certainly a political statement – and she was wearing it round her shoulders, like clothing.

Unsurprisingly all types of knives are banned – but an exception is made for "the Sikh article of faith kirpan/ceremonial dagger", which will be allowed .

Bikes and folding bikes are not allowed in to the Olympic Park, but there are 7,000 bike parking spaces around the site. The nearest Barclays Cycle hire drop off is about a 15-minute walk away.

"No balls? No picnics? That's my plans a little bit ruined. Just have to tell the kids now," tweeted one disgruntled games attender.

"NO liquids over 100ml allowed, Payment with Visa or Cash ONLY, 1 small bag per person.. Is this Ryanair FFS?" said another.

The food restrictions are likely to boost retail sales on the Olympic Park, where the world's largest McDonalds is waiting to serve its first customer. It has more than 1,500 seats.

Locog have gone to extraordinary lengths to keep Mcdonalds, one of the Olympics' main sponsors, happy. A note distributed to catering teams within the Olympic Park has emerged, which reads: "Due to sponsorship obligations with McDonald's, Locog have instructed the catering team they are no longer allowed to serve chips on their own anywhere within the Olympic park. The only loophole to this is if it is served with fish.

"Please understand this is not the decision of the staff serving up your meals, who given the choice would gladly give it to you however they are not allowed to.

"This is being escalated through to the directors of L2012C and Locog and the IOC.

"Please do not give the staff grief; this will only lead to us removing fish and chips completely."