The Football Association (FA) has sanctioned English Championship side, Huddersfield Town with a £50,000 fine, after the club breached the governing body’s kit and advertising regulations.
The charges relate to Huddersfield wearing a sash-style shirt which displayed the Paddy Power logo during a friendly game against Rochdale during pre-season.
The FA’s written statement in response to the shirt emphasised that referee Martin Coy had said that Huddersfield’s chairman, Phil Hodgkinson, asked him to ban the kit, which “could then potentially be good publicity and part of the advertising campaign”.
Coy reportedly felt uncomfortable with the request and stated that “it was not my place to ban the kit.”
Explained in what it has dubbed a ‘comunicado oficial’, Paddy Power responded to the FA ruling: “On August 1st, the FA fined Millwall £10,000 for their supporters’ racist chanting.
“Today, the FA fined Huddersfield Town £50,000 for wearing a fake shirt in a pre-season friendly. You couldn’t make this shirt up.”
Both the football club and gambling operator have since admitted that the shirt was a marketing stunt before the Championship club brought out a sponsor-free kit for this season.
Meanwhile Huddersfield’s operations manager, Ann Hough, explained to the FA that the PR stunt was a one-off occurrence and had been kept from the Huddersfield board until the day of the match, with the club’s case “that apparently no thought was given to the FA’s kit regulations as it was assumed or presumed they did not apply to pre-season friendlies”.
The chairman added: “This is an unfortunate event but we accept responsibility and offer a full apology.”
In reply to the FA’s submissions Hough said: “At the time, and under time pressures, we felt that the ramifications (not just financial) of litigation were potentially very damaging to the club and this affected our judgement.”