FA fine Huddersfield for Paddy Power sponsorship stunt
The Football Association has hit Huddersfield Town with a £50,000 fine and a warning after the Championship club's Paddy Power sponsorship stunt saw it found in breach of kit and advertising regulations.
On 17 July, the club announced a deal with Flutter Entertainment's Paddy Power brand, apparently the operator's first shirt sponsorship agreement in the UK. A kit purporting to be Huddersfield's first team strip for the 2019-20 season, featuring the Paddy Power brand as a sash across its front was then unveiled, with the team even wearing the kit for a friendly match against Rochdale AFC.
The kit was later revealed to be a PR stunt to help launch the bookmaker’s ‘Save Our Shirt’ campaign, with Huddersfield’s actual 2019-20 kit featuring no sponsor’s logo.
The 'Save Our Shirt' campaign is an initiative to encourage betting operators to stop sponsoring football team’s shirts and has signed up a number of clubs, including English League One club Southend United and League Two team Macclesfield Town, as well as Scottish Premier League outfit Motherwell. As part of the campaign, Paddy Power has agreed a commercial deal with each club, but forgoes any shirt sponsorship rights, instead leaving the front of the shirt free of any logo.
However, the FA failed to see the funny side, hitting Huddersfield with a misconduct charge in August. The club was ultimately found to have breached breached FA Regulation C.2(i), which states that sponsorship is only permitted on the front of players’ shirts if it does not exceed a single area of 200 square centimetres.
Scott Longley looked into the potential pitfalls of Paddy Power's new campaign in The Terriers meet the Merry Pranksters.