Threat to SPFL club badges ‘could become widespread’

The old Airdrieonians badge. Picture: SNS

The old Airdrieonians badge. Picture: SNS

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More and more SPFL clubs could be forced to change their crests after an attempt to have the Court of Lord Lyon drop its prosecution was unsuccessful, a leading supporters group has warned.

Airdrieonians have already been forced into making a switch after action was brought against their “illegal” badge, while Ayr United will be changing theirs before the 2017-18 season.

This followed 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”.

A Scottish Parliament Act passed in 1592 gives the Court of the Lord Lyon responsibility for prosecuting unauthorised elements in badges. The court has its own procurator fiscal.

It is thought as many as half of all SPFL club emblems could fall foul of the Lord Lyon rules.

Elements such as crowns, a lion rampant, plain English bricks (“castellation”) which look like a turret above a shield, the saltire, a town’s coat of arms or use of any letters are all forbidden.

Among those who could face future issues include Dundee, Dundee United, East Fife, Hamilton Accies, Hibernian, Rangers and St Johnstone.

Clubs have already been informed by the SPFL and SFA that the governing bodies are powerless to protect them.

Andrew Jenkin, head of Supporters Direct Scotland, said: “This is a real worry to us. Not only were Airdrieonians forced to change their crest, but the same will now happen with Ayr United.

“We’re at a floodgates point, at which this could easily spiral out of control, and some of the best known and easily identifiable symbols of football in Scotland could be lost forever, because of an archaic rule which serves to protect nobody.

“Our clubs deliver thousands of hours of community support across the country each year, our league is one of the best attended per head of population in Europe, and Scotland supporters are regarded across the world as fans, as well as significantly supporting charities in the countries they visit. We’ve seen time after time that Scottish football can be a real force for good.

“We recognise that this is a complicated issue, and strictly speaking is not devolved to the Scottish Government, but we hope after the election this is a matter that a future administration will take extremely seriously and support our efforts to find a resolution.”

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