MAGPIE bosses are being forced to change the controversially-renamed Sports Direct Arena back to St James’ Park as it prepares to host Olympic football matches.
Workmen have been busy covering up the Sports Direct Arena branding around the stadium to ensure it does not conflict with Olympic sponsorship deals.
LOGOC, the 2012 organising committee, is hiring the Newcastle United stadium for the duration of the Olympics football – which means it can take control of the naming and branding of the ground.
Large white sheets will block out the Sports Direct Arena signs during the temporary name change.
The move comes after an embarrassing last-minute change of plan during the Olympic torch relay around Newcastle when the route was diverted away from St James’ Park at the request of LOCOG because Sports Direct Arena signs had not been covered up.
Olympic organisers had already said they would not allow the Sports Direct Arena name to be printed on any tickets.
A spokesman for London 2012 said: “It will be called St James’ Park and all the venues that we’ve contacted for staging events do not have promotional material.
“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.”
Many fans were furious when the club announced it would change the name of St James’ Park to the Sports Direct Arena while it sought a new permanent sponsor for the stadium.
NUFC Managing Director Derek Llambias has said he hopes the move could bring in up to £10million a year in revenue.
As reported in the Echo, the move saw Newcastle fans tearing down Sports Direct Arena boards at a reserve match against Sunderland. >>Click here to read the story
Olypmpic football fixtures at St James’ are:
July 26 - 14:30 - Mexico v South Korea
July 26 - 17:15 - Gabon v Switzerland
July 29 - 17:00 - Spain v Honduras
July 29 - 19:45 - Japan v Morocco
August 1 - 14:30 - Brazil v New Zealand
August 4 - 17:00 - Winner C v Runner-up D
July 31 - 14:30 - Canada v Sweden
July 31 - 17:15 - France v Colombia
August 3 - 14:30 Quarter-final
•Team GB men’s fixtures:
July 26 - 19:45 - Team GB v Senegal (Old Trafford)
July 29 - 19:45 - Team GB v United Arab Emirates (Wembley Stadium)
August 1 - 19:45 - Team GB v Uruguay (Millennium Stadium)
•Team GB women’s fixtures:
July 25 - 16:00 - Team GB v New Zealand (Millennium Stadium)
July 28 - 17:15 - Team GB v Cameroon (Millennium Stadium)
July 31 - 19:45 - Team GB v Brazil (Wembley Stadium)