English FA Fine Premier League Club for Kit Stunt
The Football Association Have Hit Huddersfield Town with a £50,000 Fine for Wearing Shirts with Paddy Power Branding.
The English Football Association have branded Huddersfield Town “irresponsible” and hit the Premier League team with a £50,000 after the South Yorkshire club wore novelty shirts in a pre-season friendly. The footballing governing body said the club broke advertising regulations by wearing kits featuring the Irish bookmaker.
The club who won promotion to the Premier League from the Championship in 2017, wore a kit which featured a sash with the bookmaker’s name in large bold letters. In a strange turn of events, The FA revealed that Huddersfield Town chairman Phil Hodgkinson had approached the matchday referee and asked him to ban his team from wearing the shirts.
This attempt to involve the referee was an aggravating factor in the Football Association’s decision to hand out the £50,000 fine with the FA report stating it was a “blatant disregard” for the rules. The report said;
The club’s motives were financial, deliberately running the risk of being charged, The decision not to wear the sash shirt was one the club should have made; it should not have tried to hide behind the referee.– Football Association report.
Huddersfield’s punishment came under criticism from Paddy Power who questioned why the Football Association punished a breach of advertising rules more harshly than instances of racism. The bookmaker was referring to Millwall fans who could be heard singing racist chants against Everton in last year’s FA Cup. The FA fined Millwall £10,000 for this offence last month, a figure that is just 20% of Huddersfield Town.
Paddy Power has a long history of controversy and has fallen foul of authorities on numerous occasions, often due to the extreme nature of their adverts. The company had the most complained about advert in 2002 when the bookmaker published a newspaper advert featuring two older women was shown using a zebra crossing with odds displayed next to them, giving the impression that it was a betting market on which would survive.
The controversial bookmaker also had the most complained about advert in 2010 when the company aired a TV advert showing a team of blind footballers playing a game using a ball with a bell. During the match, a cat runs onto the pitch and is mistaken by the players as the ball. The voiceover then stated, “Paddy Power cannot get Tiddles back, there is nothing we can do about that, but we can get your money back”, a reference to their money-back promotion.
Huddersfield in their defence said they didn’t believe that the Football Association’s rules on advertisements on shirts applied to friendly matches. An argument dismissed by the disciplinary committee who also went on to praise the referee who they said displayed commendable judgment in the face of such conduct.