Sheffield trophy row goes to appeal

Keith Hackett
Keith Hackett

A legal dispute over the rights to the name of a Sheffield football tournament has flared up again.

Hallam FC – which plays at Sandygate, the world’s oldest football ground – has appealed against a decision last year to allow the organisers of the Youdan Trophy permission to register the title as a trademark.

The club is persisting with its case the youth soccer competition, founded by former referees Jock Waugh and Keith Hackett of the website You Are The Ref, infringes its rights.

Last October’s verdict was made after a tribunal held by the Government’s Intellectual Property Office.

A fresh hearing took place last month, with another to be organised. If neither side backs down, the matter could reach the High Court.

Scott Loveluck, Hallam FC's legal representative, said the IPO’s decision was ‘clearly wrong’, and one of the key grounds for appeal was that the day the trademark was applied for was incorrectly calculated.

“Evidence which precedes the relevant date is given greater weighting than evidence that post-dates it. Any evidence from 2014 was not properly taken into account.”

Mr Loveluck said there were concerns about Youdan’s choice of solicitor, claiming there was a potential conflict of interest.

The tournament commemorates the world’s first-ever football contest, the Football Challenge Cup, which pre-dates the FA Cup and was played once in 1867.

A winner’s trophy – the Youdan Cup – was presented to Hallam by Thomas Youdan Esq. Hallam FC awards a Youdan Trophy to its player of the year.

Mr Loveluck said promotional handouts advertised the modern tournament, first held in 2015, as being ‘the oldest football competition in the world’.

“They are definitely making the claim that this novel event is a continuation of the 1867 event,” he said.

“It’s nothing of the sort.” The Youdan Trophy’s organisers have declined to comment.