Huddersfield Town have been handed a £50,000 fine by the Football Association (FA) after they were found to be in breach of the organisation’s rules on kit advertising.
The fine is the result of what the club had admitted was a ‘publicity stunt’ in co-ordination with bookmaker Paddy Power in July. The club unveiled what they said was the new shirt for the 2019-20 season, which featured a sash showing the Paddy Power logo. A Huddersfield Town team then wore the shirts for a friendly game against Rochdale on July 17.
That put them in breach of the FA rules on kit advertising that set a guideline of 250 square centimetres for all shirt advertising.
The FA also revealed that the chairman of Huddersfield, Phil Hodgkinson, had asked the referee, Martin Coy, to ban the kit as this would help gain publicity for the campaign. According to the FA, Coy was uncomfortable at the request and said that it was not his role to ban kits.
According to the club’s operations manager, Ann Hough, the decision to use the kit was not communicated to the board until the day of the game, and as it was a friendly match, the original presumption was that the kit rules would not apply.
Both Huddersfield and Paddy Power have admitted that the shirt was a stunt for marketing purposes and subsequently, the club released details of its official sponsor-free kit.
In a further complication, Hodgkinson claimed that the club risked legal action from Paddy Power if they didn’t wear the shirt for the game against Rochdale.
In reaching its decision, the FA emphasised that the fact that the referee had been involved was an aggravating factor in the penalty for what it described as an irresponsible decision.