Monday, 17 March 2014

FA Expected To Block Hull City Name Change

By Paul Kelso, Sports Correspondent

The FA is expected to tell Hull City's owners that they are not allowed to change the club's name to Hull Tigers.

Sky News understands the FA Membership Committee will recommend that the FA Council reject an application by the club's owner Assem Allam to change the name, which has been used since the club was founded in 1904.

Mr Allam wants to change the name to Hull Tigers to increase the club's commercial appeal to potential sponsors, and has described the word City as "common" and "lousy".

He has threatened to walk away from the club, which he bought and helped save from financial collapse in 2010, if his application is rejected.

The final decision will be made by the FA Council at a meeting next month, but the committee's recommendation makes it highly unlikely that Mr Allam will get his way.

It is understood that the decision to recommend the application be rejected was unanimous, and was made following a detailed report from a small working party that consulted stakeholders across the game.

The Premier League, the Football League and supporters groups including Hull fans opposed to the move were asked for their views.

Allam Threatens To Quit Over Name-Change Owner Assem Allam has threatened to walk away from the club

Sky News understands that none of those consulted believed the club had made a persuasive case for change.

Speaking to Sky Sports News in January, Mr Allam said he would walk away "in 24 hours" if the supporters rejected his plans. 

"No one on earth is allowed to question my business decisions, I won't allow it," he said.

"I'm here to save the club and manage the club for the benefit of the community - it will never, ever be the other way around - take it from me. But the community can say 'go away' and I will go within 24 hours."

In a letter to the Hull Daily Mail last week Mr Allam's son Ehab Allam re-stated the case for change, pointing out his family had invested £74m in the club.

"We have nothing left to give, and this is the reason why the club has to become financially self-sustainable," he wrote.

"Currently there are six teams in the Premier League with 'City' in their name, and with the exception of Manchester City, all of those clubs are in a similar league position to us, and playing to similar-sized crowds.

"We need something that makes us stand out from the pool of teams we find ourselves in when it comes to attracting potential international sponsors, who are simply hoping to use the Premier League, and its global audience, to advertise."

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