Authorities powerless to protect club badges

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SCOTTISH football authorities have admitted they are powerless to help any clubs whose badges may follow Airdrie’s in falling foul of ancient heraldic law.

Following the intervention of the Lord Lyon’s Procurator Fiscal, responsible for enforcing the 16th century legislation on crests or emblems which may be regarded as “heraldic devices”, Airdrie have agreed to cease using their current badge from 1 September this year.

Airdrie FC badge emblazoned on the outside of  Excelsior Stadium. Picture: SNS Group

Airdrie FC badge emblazoned on the outside of Excelsior Stadium. Picture: SNS Group

The decision has angered the Airdrieonians Supporters Trust (AST) who have joined forces with Supporters Direct Scotland to launch a petition calling for the exemption of football club badges from the Lord Lyon’s jurisdiction.

Colin Telford, a committee member of the AST and a solicitor, highlighted the issue in Saturday’s Scotsman which revealed that the badges of as many as half of Scotland’s 42 senior league clubs could be deemed unacceptable under the 1592 Lord Lyon King of Arms act.

Dundee, St Johnstone, Hamilton Accies, Ayr United and East Fife are among those whose existing badges could be challenged on the basis of using letters, certain colours or a saltire within an enclosed shape.

St Mirren and Kilmarnock were both forced to alter their badges in the 1990s after being found in breach of the Lord Lyon rules.

While supporters groups now attempt to achieve change in the legislation, both the Scottish Football Association and Scottish Professional Football League are unable to offer any assistance to their member clubs on the issue.

The SFA underwent a rebrand of their own long-established lion rampant crest in 2012 when it became clear there is no avenue for football clubs or organisations to circumvent the law.

“The SFA required permission from the Lord Lyon throughout the process of rebranding our badge,” confirmed an SFA spokesman.

The SPFL have no problems with their logo, which is not an enclosed shape.

While the SPFL would offer advice if requested by any of their clubs who may face a challenge over their badges, they have privately admitted they could provide no practical assistance. Each case would be an individual matter which clubs would have to direct to their own legal advisers.

Anyone wishing to sign the petition calling for the protection of football club badges should visit www.savethebadge.co.uk

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