Huddersfield Town Fined £50,000 by FA for Paddy Power Marketing Stunt

  • Club accepts it breached advertising rules and will pay £50,000 fine
  • FA regulation allows maximum advertising coverage area of 250 square centimeters
  • Jersey was only worn for one preseason friendly against Rochdale
  • For the rest of the season, the club will not have a jersey sponsor for home games
Huddersfield Town shirt advertising Paddy Power.
Huddersfield Town hit with a £50,000 fine by the FA for breaching shirt advertising rules during preseason friendly. [Image: htafc.com]

Marketing stunt turns costly

English soccer club Huddersfield Town have been fined £50,000 ($61,500) by the Football Association (FA). This fine relates to a jersey worn by players during a preseason game that breached advertising rules.

This kit was only worn in a single game against Rochdale before the new Championship season commenced. It had a sash design emblazoned with the Paddy Power logo diagonally across the shirt.

While gambling companies are allowed to sponsor soccer clubs in England, the sash design was in breach of the rules.

kit was only worn in a single game against Rochdale

As per the FA regulation C.2 (i), all shirt advertising has to be “one single area on the front of the shirt, not exceeding 250 square centimeters.” As you can see above, the Paddy Power-sponsored jersey was most certainly in breach of this rule. 

Fallout after the stunt

The marketing stunt stirred up a lot of controversy. This led to Huddersfield Town announcing that there will be no sponsor on the front of their home jerseys for the 2019/2020 season.

This incident follows an increasing number of calls to stop gambling companies advertising on the kits of soccer teams. 

Half of the twenty Premier League teams have gambling companies as their kit sponsors. In the Championship (a second tier soccer league in England), 17 of the 24 teams have gambling companies as kit sponsors.

Huddersfield Town has endured a difficult start to the season. The club languishes in the relegation zone after losing their first six matches.

Costly fine

Paddy Power is a gambling company renowned for its publicity stunts.

One of their most recent advertisements involved Rhodri Giggs, a brother of Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs. In 2011 it came to light that Ryan had engaged in a long-running affair with his brother’s wife. The “Loyalty’s Dead” advert was subsequently banned for being in breach of advertising laws. 

It is difficult to quantify how this particular jersey stunt paid off for the bookmaker given how viral the jerseys went on social media. 

These jerseys went on sale for a short time, racking up £30,000 ($37,000) in sales. This money was donated to charity. Paddy Power has carried out similar marketing stunts with other soccer clubs, including Southend United, Motherwell and Newport County. 

Huddersfield Town admits that it was in breach of the FA’s rules on this matter and has no intention of appealing the fine.