If you plan to bring an interchangeable-lens camera to the Olympics football at Wembley, play safe and leave it at home.

That’s the stark message from Olympics chiefs who have today warned spectators not to bring ‘any’ cameras with detachable lenses into Wembley Stadium in case they breach rules by looking ‘professional’.

They fear that amateurs, who don’t hold media accreditation, will
grab unauthorised photos and video footage of the action and post it on
websites such as YouTube.

The move comes after Wembley said it will show the red card to any ‘professional-style cameras [any cameras with interchangeable lenses] or recording/transmitting devices’.

Olympics bosses admit there are no clear rules guiding Wembley security staff on the difference between professional and non-professional cameras, despite today’s growing number of consumer-level models with interchangeable lenses.

At first, Wembley said that only cameras with long zoom lenses were at risk, after Amateur Photographer (AP) pointed out that many non-professional cameras have detachable lenses (see picture, above).

London 2012 organisers have since told AP that it is better to be safe than sorry and to leave any camera with an interchangeable lens at home.

Wembley is the only Olympic venue not to adopt regulations laid down elsewhere by London 2012 organisers, according to Locog which has set a 30cm limit on spectators’ camera equipment at other sites.

‘If in doubt leave it out,’ said Locog’s spokesman for Wembley Keith Cooper, who cautioned that Olympics fans will have nowhere to leave their cameras at the gates if they fall foul of the rules.

AP is seeking comment on the matter from Panasonic, a key sponsor of London 2012, which launched the latest in its line of non-professional compact system cameras only yesterday.

Cooper explained that organisers decided not to draw up a list of which cameras it classes as ‘professional’, telling AP that subsequent checks would cause delays at the security points and that – in any case – he expects such rules to only affect hobbyists, who represent a ‘minority’ of the public.

‘It’s an inexact science,’ added Cooper who said he doesn’t predict an ‘epidemic of great proportions’ in relation to cameras.

‘The feeling is that the regulation has worked well in the past so why change it.’

Though Locog has now effectively moved into the stadium, checks on spectators will be conducted by security staff already used at Wembley, according to the Football Association (FA).

‘It will be the same security as that used at event and match days,’ said a spokesman for the FA who confirmed that Wembley will not be using G4S security staff like other Olympics sites.

Wembley’s own security staff will follow existing conditions of entry to the stadium, which mirror those laid down for the Olympics.

Though the FA spokesman conceded that many consumer-level cameras now feature interchangeable lenses, he told AP: ‘In over 100 events, we’ve never had an issue with people not being able to get a camera in.

‘I don’t envisage [the Olympics] to be any different.’

Cooper said that, in any event, it is too late to change the rules – adding that he has not experienced any problems in his 30 years of dealing with events management.

Speaking earlier, the FA spokesman told AP that he did not know what the procedure is if someone is stopped, repeating that it has never happened before.

‘The stadium has a pretty pragmatic approach and the security staff have vast experience at dealing with this. If it looks like [it has] a huge zoom lens then it probably won’t be allowed in.’

When asked whether Olympics organisers bowed to pressure from Wembley over the rules, a Locog spokesperson said: ‘It is part of discussions held with the venues themselves. It’s [about] coming to an agreement together.’

The first Olympics football matches at Wembley are due to kick off on 29 July, featuring a Group A clash between Great Britain and the United Arab Emirates.

  • Kevin Sanders

    Perhaps someone should organize/encourage amateur photographers to boycott these money-grubbing venues. It would be easy for them to protect official photographers, they are just being lazy and high-handed.

  • Londoner

    this is completely wrong. i was there today and saw hundreds of people with big SLR cameras walking into the stadium and arena.

  • R Seeton

    We were there on July 30th for the Women’s Olympic Soccer and they were letting Nikons in with 18-200 lenses and simliar Canons.

    Generally, the security staff were friendly and “pragmatic” – Don’t raise a fuss, follow the rules on liquids (no liquids – pop, water bottles, etc) and anything hazardous (knives, etc) and you should be fine. I doubt you would get a monopod in.

  • Chris Plant

    Regretably Wembley is not the only venue to be enforcing rules different to those advertised in advance. I was lucky enough to have tickets for the Mens gymnastics on the morning of Saturday 28th July at the North Grenwich Arena. I had read, and reread, everything that I could find on the rules for Olympic events and felt comfortable that a Lowepro Classified 160 AW was okay for the bag size restrictions, and that its contents a Nikon D3 with 28-300mm and 14-24mm lens satisfied the less than 300mm lenght rule. Yet when I went to go through the final security hurdle inside the arena itself security were adamant that I could not take a second lens, and that they were only allowing cameras with one lens because of error with the rules. Apparently they would not normally allow a lens wider than 35mm. In a few weeks I have tickets for the Paralylmpics at the Excel and Olympic Park so now I wonder what can I actually take in at those? Now I am prepared to accept any rules just so long as I know in advance and so can plan for them. So please can we have a clear statement of what is and is not allowed for each venue?

  • Jamie

    I have a Nikon 1 J1, which has interchangeable lenses. Any idea if this will be banned? Given it is only a compact system camera?

  • David James

    This is disgracefull, but what do we expect from this elitist bunch! The spirit of the Olympics died years ago and now lies buried in the East End. Big business rules and wants its cut!

  • Anthony Sproson

    I was going to take my Nikon D7000 and 80-200 f2.8 AF-S but having measured it some weeks ago it was so close to 30cms that I thought it wasn’t worth the risk.
    We’ve bought a P7100 to take instead :-)
    TonyS3

  • Sam Chapman

    It’s certainly crazy to apply such a vaguely worded rule; what about those people from abroad, who probably won’t have seen these rules before reaching the gates, unless the the point is being ‘pushed hard’ at places where and when they collect their tickets. If attendees were told that optics more than XXX.mm for each type of camera format were not allowed, this would clarify the situation. However, a lot of compacts, have 10x zooms, which don’t look that ‘big’, whilst a 10x zoom on an APS-C camera, may well ‘look’ like pro kit and probably will not be allowed.

  • Kevin

    This has been the case for years for many events at Wembley, it’s not an olympic thing.
    Although I’m guessing they will actually clamp down on it more than I see each year at the NFL game.

  • MD

    This whole olympic thing is a right farce. we pay for the circus and then are treated like cattle. no wonder I have switched off my interest in the fandango

  • Erik Draven

    What a load of crap! the Olympics is biggest joke on the planet thanks G4S and Locog.
    The morons haven’t a clue how to organise anything and now they are banning any camera with detachable lens! I think everyone should boycott it. Hopefully bin ladens mates will liven it up

  • Martin

    I really wish they would make up their minds. On their official Prohibited and Restricted Items list, they state there will be a restriction on “large photographic and broadcast equipment over 30cm in length,including tripods and monopods.” I’ve a D700 and 70-200 lens which just obeys the 30cm criteria and now LOCOG are saying that’s not allowed. It now seems pointless to bring in any camera to an event if G4S are liable to nab them.

  • alec wight

    Just because I enjoy and own equipment to enhance my photography skills, I am automatically a pervert, a paedophile, a terrorist, undermining professionals, and now debarred unable to take my own personal quality photos as a memento of my Olympic experience because of some sad misguided fear I am a deviant of some sort because I use a good camera – iphone, phone camera all much more surreptitious and capable of just as much if not more deviant behaviour – much of youtube etc… perhaps we should boycott and not bother with these imbecilic arrangements, keep away totally and deprive them of associated income or participation. The ticket fiasco was bad enough: now compounded by further madness. If I were a woman and foreign…would that help?

  • dvr666

    Crock of S-it

  • Sy

    I think this is grade A BULL****.

    I have actually been to wembley & ad teh quick at down .. fine

    But to stop anyone taking an interchangable lense camera into the stadium .. what the hell is this .. slight draconian measures to stop any non-government/corporate advertisement.

    Too many hand picked wanna-be superstars today. They want people enjoy it then let them.

  • Simon Lambert

    I believe even in Nazi Germany they liked pictures of the 36 Olympics being taken by visitors.

    Ah but that was before the true fascism of megabuck commercialism arrived.

    Long live freedom to snap as we like!

  • Benchmark

    Just one more reason why I won’t be going within 100 miles of London during the Olympics.

  • JLoudon

    I’m fed up with “big brother” placing restrictions on when and were we can take photos. Sometimes I feel I must apologise for being a photographer. Soon they will be telling us to leave our eyeballs at home.