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News Link • OLYMPICS London Summer 2012

Olympic officials replace backwards Arabic ‘welcome’ signs

• The Raw

The official shopping centre of the 2012 Olympics apologised on Thursday for putting up “Welcome to London” banners in Arabic that read backwards.

The banners at the giant Westfield Stratford City complex — at the main entrance to the Olympic Park in east London — were also written with spaces between the letters, making them even more difficult to decipher.

At first glance, the banners appeared so alien to some Arabic speakers that they thought they were written in Farsi.

“There was incorrect printing on the Arabic version,” a Westfield spokeswoman told AFP. “Westfield apologised and pulled all the signs immediately. It was through the printing procedure that something went awry.

“We’ve replaced it and everything is correct in it ready in time for Friday,” when the Games officially open.

“We have been assured that they are now correct.”

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