A new flag crisis has erupted in Belfast after a sports shop was forced to explain that the Ivory Coast flag is the tricolour in reverse to angry Northern Ireland customers.

And Irish bookie Paddy Power is in the World Cup wars with soccer legend Pele.

The Sunday Independent reports that shop workers have been forced to write ‘Ivory Coast flag’ under bunting in its

Northern Ireland outlets after complaints from Unionists about the presence of the Irish tricolour.

The paper says that the football store on the Shankill Road had put up the flags of the competing nations in the World Cup.

It eventually had to put up a notice so as not to offend people in the loyalist enclave according to the paper.

The report says staff had to explain that the green white and orange flag in the window was not the Irish tricolour, but was actually the flag of the Ivory Coast, whose flag is identical - except in reverse.

Staff eventually added a sign beneath the flag stating: “This is the Ivory Coast – it’s NOT the Republic of Ireland.”

Meanwhile bookmaker Paddy Power has been hit with a whammy on both sides of the Irish Sea as World Cup action heats up in Pele’s native Brazil.

The gambling chain had introduced ‘Pele Power’ fronts to 20 shops in Britain and Ireland after spending a fortune on graphic design.

But lawyers acting for the Brazilian legend have aggressively issued a ‘case and desist’ court order according to the Sunday Independent newspaper.

Pele, now 73, has forced Paddy Power to remove his name from 20 shop fronts just days after they were rebranded.

Sources told the Sunday Independent: “The cease and desist demand from Pele’s international lawyers was extremely aggressive.”

The Pele brand is expected to generate over $25 million for the legendary star during the Brazilian World Cup.

Renowned for their marketing stunt, the Paddy Power organization did have a dig at Viagra ambassador Pele in their statement to the Sunday Independent.

A spokesman told the paper: “We wanted to give people a lift for the World Cup - and who better than Viagra’s main spokesman Pele to do that. 

Unfortunately our plans fell flat after his lawyers got involved. We are a bit deflated.”