Tribunal’s decision revives possibility of Hull rebranding

Hull City's owner Assem Allam (Picture: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire).
Hull City's owner Assem Allam (Picture: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire).
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THE door has been left open for Hull City’s owners to make another attempt to rebrand ahead of next season.

Chairman Assem Allan wants to re-name Yorkshire’s sole top-flight representative Hull Tigers.

However, his plan – which has led to supporter protests since first being mooted 18 months ago – was rejected last season by the Football Association Council.

Allam immediately appealed and yesterday an arbitration tribunal ruled that the Council’s original decision be set aside due to the “biased” involvement of Football Supporters’ Federation chairman Malcolm Clarke on the membership committee that recommended the name change be rejected.

It means that while no name change can take place this season, Hull are free to once again begin the process in an attempt to force through the re-brand before the 2015-16 season kicks off.

Hull officials welcomed the decision in an official statement that read: “The club can confirm winning the arbitration case against the FA.

“The arbitration panel ruled unanimously in the club’s favour, setting the FA’s decision aside, 
effectively leaving the club’s original application unanswered.

“The ball is now in the FA’s possession, with the club seeking clarification on how the FA will proceed in a fair and unbiased manner.”

Yesterday’s development offers fresh hope to Allam and son Ehab that the re-brand can go ahead.

A 30-page document was released outlining the verdict from the arbitration process.

An FA spokesman said: “The club raised a number of challenges during the course of the arbitration.

“These included a competition law challenge, arguments that the FA had failed to follow its own rules and a challenge to the process undertaken by the FA in respect of its name change application.

“The club was not granted relief by the tribunal in relation to any of these points. The tribunal has, however, set aside the decision taken by the FA Council last year.

“The tribunal has done so on the basis that prior to a decision being taken, a member of the committee that considered the club’s application expressed a view to supporters of the club that a club’s name should not be changed unless it is clearly demonstrated that the majority of its supporters want that to happen.

“The tribunal held that although a committee member is entitled to place great weight on the views of supporters, it should not be the only factor to be considered when exercising his or her discretion.”

If, as expected, the Allams do re-apply to become Hull Tigers, the request will be considered by the FA Membership Committee in accordance with the relevant policy and then by The FA Council in accordance with FA Rule A3(l).