After a brazen stunt in a pre-season friendly, Huddersfield Town Football Club was fined 50,000 pounds ($61,610) by the English Football Association for wearing a kit that violated advertising regulations.
The kit, which was worn for a single pre-season match against Rochdale, sported a large diagonal “sash” design owned by the paddy power gaming company across the shirt. However, under the official rules of the Football Association of Game-and-shirt-huddersfield-town-pay-the-price, the F.A. Regulation C.2(i) stipulates that advertising must consist of “one area on the front of the shirt, not exceeding 250 square centimeters.” Obviously, a two-foot edin in bright green pushed beyond these limits a little.
Ironically, while Huddersfield will pay their fine, they had already removed the jersey sponsor, claiming that they will not wear any sponsor on the front of their home shirts this season as a comment from the recent band of gaming companies of advertising about football jerseys and the potential issue it provokes, linking the increasingly tight game to the game of football.
Half of the English Premier League clubs this season are sponsored by gaming companies, with 17 of the 24 teams in the EFL Championship last season also touting the names of the game brands through the front of their shirts. Among the current teams in the first two divisions, a whopping 27 include a game sponsor somewhere on their shirts.
With the Huddersfield waterfall causing controversy at the time, one could argue that the following notoriety and virality of social media more than refunded the advertiser for the unique game to see their name on the shirts and no doubt there was a promotional element at the event.
All the attention hasn’t helped on the field issues, with Huddersfield mired in the relegation zone of this season’s Championship, having lost their last four games and won only one point from their first six games.
After admitting the charge, Huddersfield will continue to wear jerseys without a sponsor this season. Quite how many sides follow suit remains to be seen, but with other Derby County Championship stragglers admitting they owe part of Wayne Rooney’s case to their game sponsor 32Red, championship sides in particular and football in general remain intrinsically linked to sites that encourage the game on the results of games played.
Paddy Power have been accused of exploiting the stunt, despite the sale of the aforementioned shirts for 30,000 euros and the donation of proceeds to charity. The brand has also repeated the trick with clubs such as Newport County, Motherwell and Southend United.