Paddy Power has announced that its controversial ‘sash’ sponsorship of Huddersfield Town was just a prank and revealed the actual shirt the team will wear this season.
Earlier this week, the bookie unveiled a shirt featuring oversized branding which it claimed to be the Yorkshire club's new home shirt for the 19/20 season. Despite expectations that it would simply reduce the extravagant logo in size, it has instead removed it entirely.
Meanwhile, the brand has also launched the Save Our Shirt campaign, where it is calling on brands to stop sponsoring football shirts altogether – including fellow betting companies.
The intention of Paddy Power’s hoax jersey was to shine a light on the issues around shirt sponsorships – given the coverage and criticism of the sash, it is clearly not alone in recognising the problem.
Sash design unveiled earlier this week
This season, more than half of the teams in the top two divisions will be sponsored by a bookmaker – with 14 Championship teams bearing a betting brand’s logo.
As a result, Paddy Power has relinquished the space on the front of the Huddersfield Town shirt, where it would appear as title sponsor, and is encouraging others to do the same.
“Shirt sponsorship in football has gone too far. We accept that there is a role for sponsors around football, but the shirt should be sacred,” said Victor Corcoran, MD at Paddy Power. “So today we are calling on other sponsors to join the Save Our Shirt campaign and give something back to the fans. As a sponsor, we know our place, and it’s not on your shirt.”
As part of the campaign, Paddy Power is setting up a ‘shirt amnesty’ outside Huddersfield Town’s first game of the season – at home to Derby County on 5 August – where it will give out 500 unbranded Huddersfield Town jerseys, in exchange for older, branded versions.
It has also donated its sponsorship of the club’s training kit to the Huddersfield Town Foundation.