Huddersfield Town have been fined £50,000 by the FA after accepting a misconduct charge relating to a spoof kit worn during a pre-season friendly that was part of club’s controversial sponsorship with bookmaker Paddy Power.
Huddersfield had launched their new home kit in July featuring diagonal shoulder to hip Paddy Power branding that breached the FA’s strict regulations on shirt sponsorship.
That kit was subsequently worn for a friendly against Rochdale, before it was later revealed that it was a joke and publicity stunt, with Paddy Power’s deal actually seeing Huddersfield’s shirt be left completely free of any sponsor logos for the duration of the season.
But the damage had already been done. A misconduct charge was brought last month and the Terriers have now admitted the charge, resulting in a £50,000 fine for the club.
(2/2) Playing kit worn by the club’s first team during a pre-season friendly against Rochdale AFC on 17 July 2019 breached FA Regulation C.2(i).— FA Spokesperson (@FAspokesperson) September 5, 2019
In his witness statement as part of the disciplinary proceedings, referee Martin Coy has revealed that Huddersfield were hoping to be banned from wearing the kit against Rochdale, a development that was expected to further aid publicity.
The Terriers had already been warned by the FA that wearing the kit with the Paddy Power branding would be a breach of the rules and Coy explained that club chairman Phil Hodgkinson had told the official before the Rochdale friendly that he wanted him to ban it from being worn.
Hodgkinson was apparently concerned about the threat of an FA charge, but considered the possibility of Coy banning the kit to be good for the advertising campaign.
As it was, the referee expressed his unwillingness to be involved in such a publicity stunt, but recommended that Huddersfield follow the FA’s advice. Coy said he was then informed by Hodgkinson that the kit would not be worn and he wouldn’t be part of any advertising. But Huddersfield did wear the kit and have now been punished for it.