Huddersfield Town And Paddy Power Team Up To Bring Attention To Shirt Sponsorship Issues


Earlier this week, English Championship side Huddersfield Town AFC “unveiled” their new kit for the upcoming 2019-20 season and the new shirt sent chills down the spine of uniform enthusiasts and soccer fans in general. As part of also announcing their new partnership with sponsor Paddy Power, the Terriers revealed a new, “groundbreaking” design in which the sponsor’s name was placed diagonally across the chest in a sash style.

The reaction was swift and stayed within a range of incredulity and just pure anger. While sash designs are nothing new in soccer, normally they’re cut off a bit due to having to place the sponsor’s logo on the front of the chest. If this was the solution to the problem, then this application of the sponsor’s name on the sash was the equivalent of smashing a bug with a wrecking ball.

Speaking of sponsor logo placement, many fans and outlets such as the BBC were quick to note that this ran afoul of the Football Association’s regulations on the size of a sponsor logo on the shirt. Additionally, this also led the BBC to believe that this may have just been a hoax — especially since they noted that clubs are not allowed to put bookmaker logos on shirts that are meant to be sold to children.

As it turned out, it appeared that Huddersfield Town was very much serious about wearing this controversial shirt on the pitch for the upcoming season. The club played a friendly against Rochdale AFC and wore the shirts with the garish sponsor logo on them. It appeared that this was indeed going to be a season-long publicity stunt.

Just when it appeared that all hope was lost and the sponsors had ultimately won the battle for the soul of one soccer club in particular, a ray of light emerged from an unexpected source — the sponsors themselves, Paddy Power. The bookmakers and the club joined together to reveal that this was indeed a hoax and that the sash sponsor logo would not be worn on Huddersfield’s shirts for the upcoming season.

Additionally, the Terriers revealed the actual shirt and the shocking part was that Paddy Power’s name was nowhere to be found. The club revealed both their home and away shirts would be clean on the chest.

While this is still very much a publicity stunt, it’s a stunt that both Huddersfield Town and Paddy Power should both be praised for. In their part of the unveiling which also started the #SaveOurShirt campaign, Paddy Power claimed that they were doing this to “shine a light on the issues around shirt sponsorship” and also encouraged other sponsors (namely, the sponsors of 14 other Championship teams who will have a betting company’s name on them) to follow their lead and relinquish their space on the shirt.

In an era where we’re now starting to see high-profile Premier League teams sell space on their sleeves, it’s refreshing to see at least one club and a sponsor band together to keep the focus on the shirt’s design and the crest on the chest. The design itself from Umbro is typical fare when it comes to soccer shirt designs, but the fact that it’s working without a sponsorship logo just gives it a boost over many other clubs in England and across the world as well.

While it’s highly unlikely that Huddersfield Town and Paddy Power will be able to change the game on their own, it would be nice to see at least a few clubs follow their lead. It’s understandable that clubs want money and sponsors want exposure, but the fans mostly just want a clean shirt. In that regard, Huddersfield Town delivered and made a salient point in the process.

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