These articles are published in the Slough Town FC programme. The Rebels play in the Southern Premier - just seven leagues below the Premier League. I’ve been supporting Slough since the beginning of time despite now living in Brighton. After nearly 14 nomadic years we finally have a brand spanking new home in Slough.

Monday, January 01, 2018

A SPECTACULAR WEMBLEY OWN GOAL

Printed in the Southern League Premier Division game v Hereford on Saturday 6th January 2018. We drew 2-2 in front of 1,561 (2-0 up with 90 minutes gone. Arghhh!)
It's as spectacular an own goal as you will see all season.
Wembley FC of the Spartan South Midlands Football League playing in the ninth tier of English football often in front of fewer than 50 spectators have been told that they had to drop Wembley from their title because it could cause confusion with Wembley Stadium.

Come again? Forget that Wembley FC have had their name for over 70 years and are in fact a football club in er, Wembley! 

Wembley Stadium on the other hand was known as the Empire Stadium but this was changed to Wembley Stadium because...well its also in Wembley.

The FA, now backed by a European ruling, said they must act to enforce their intellectual property. (we) "take the enforcement of our intellectual property seriously and only take action as a last resort when an amicable resolution does not seem possible. "  

The two have co-existed for years without any issues so why now? Infact just a few seasons back Wembley FC were the FA's FA Cup poster-boys. The clubs current crest, a lion's head on a shield beneath the word Wembley, was registered in 2012 when the club updated their badge after they agreed a sponsorship deal with Budweiser - sponsors of the FA Cup between 2011 to 2014. As part of the Budweiser deal, the club drafted in former England manager Terry Venables as the clubs technical advisor while Martin Keown, Graeme Le Saux and Claudio Caniggia agreed to play for them in the cup. In 2012 the FA's director of football also opened a revamped Vale Park with the offending badge clearly visible in the background. 

However trouble started when Budweiser's agreement with Wembley FC finished and the rights to the trademark were passed to the club. Wembley National Stadium Limited then applied to cancel Wembley FC's European trademark and the European Union's Intellectual Property Office agreed saying that the English-speaking public could confuse the club with the stadium. Despite "a number of visual differences" in the logos, the use of the word Wembley in both meant there was still "a likelihood of confusion".
To be fair it is easy to confuse the two. On my last Slough Town trip there I wandered off the high street and past some allotments to find the ground – this is just like Wembley Way I thought as I walked down a cinder track, past a row of cauliflowers and an old man picking beans.
As Wembley FC chairman for over 30 years Brian Gumm said “I know football fans are not supposed to be very bright- but I think you can tell the difference between this and Wembley Stadium. We can't even afford to put in an appeal. It will bankrupt the club because we can't afford to change all our signage and kit."
The FA boosts of its support for the grass-roots game but the truth is since the Premier League were formed 25 years ago, it is too powerless to control the big clubs. It really does itself no favours going after the smaller ones. 

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