Supporters Direct Scotland today (Friday 15 April 2016) expressed real concern that a significant number of SPFL football clubs could be forced to change their club crest.
This follows a ruling that the Court of Lord Lyon will not re-consider its approach to the prosecution of so-called illegal badges, after Airdrieonians were forced to launch a new crest in 2015 after an action was raised against them.
Ayr United will also now change their crest for season 2017-18, after agreement was reached on a short term dispensation.
It is a ruling which could result in a significant number of historically famous badges be consigned to history.
A Scottish Parliament Act passed in 1592 gives the Court of the Lord Lyon responsibility for prosecuting unauthorised elements in badges. The court has its own procurator fiscal.
Matters are complicated because although this responsibility is laid down in law by ancient Scottish legislation, it is currently reserved to the UK Government.
Elements such as crowns, a lion rampant, plain English bricks (“castellation”) which look like a turret above a shield, the saltire, a town’s coat of arms or use any letters are all forbidden.
Those who could face future issues include Dundee, Dundee United, East Fife, Hamilton Accies, Rangers, and St Johnstone.
Supporters Direct Scotland ran a petition last season, which gained 1,500 supporters, but this latest situation is sure to cause concern to fans.
Andrew Jenkin, head of Supporters Direct Scotland comments:
“This is a real worry to us. Not only were Airdrieonians forced to change their crest, but the same will now happen with Ayr United.
“We’re at a floodgates point, at which this could easily spiral out of control, and some of the best known and easily identifiable symbols of football in Scotland could be lost forever, because of an archaic rule which serves to protect nobody.
“Our clubs deliver thousands of hours of community support across the country each year, our league is one of the best attended per head of population in Europe, and Scotland supporters are regarded across the world as fans, as well as significantly supporting charities in the countries they visit. We’ve seen time after time that Scottish football can be a real force for good.
“We recognise that this is a complicated issue, and strictly speaking is not devolved to the Scottish Government, but we hope after the election this is a matter that a future administration will take extremely seriously and support our efforts to find a resolution.
“This may include assessing the viability of introducing legislation to protect the identity of clubs & their assets such as crests, colours, stadiums and that they are really important to community identity.”