A legal dispute which has broken out over a new Sheffield football tournament could end up in the High Court.
The Youdan Trophy, a contest for under-14s teams across the country, took place for the first time in July, with the final held at Bramall Lane stadium last Friday.
The competition was organised by former football referees Jock Waugh and Keith Hackett, of the website You Are The Ref, and commemorated the world’s first-ever football tournament, the Football Challenge Cup.
The tournament pre-dates the FA Cup and was played once in 1867. The winner’s trophy - the Youdan Cup - was presented to Hallam FC by Thomas Youdan Esq.
Mr Waugh and Mr Hackett have now applied to register ‘Youdan Trophy Est 1867 Sheffield’ as a trademark.
However, the bid is opposed by Hallam FC - which says the name infringes its intellectual property rights.
Papers have been lodged ahead of a tribunal. Any decision is subject to appeal and, if neither side backs down, can also be overturned by the High Court.
Lawyer Scott Loveluck, who is representing the Sandygate club pro bono, said: “If these trademarks go ahead, we won’t be able to hold a tournament to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Football Challenge Cup without infringing the rights. It’s similar to gazumping. It’s pretty shocking.”
But Mr Hackett said: “We are very disappointed Hallam FC have chosen this course of action. We were given verbal support from the club back in the summer of 2014.”
He said a ‘huge amount of time, effort and money’ had been invested in the competition and that it was backed by the city council, Sheffield’s universities and Sheffield FC. Organisers also ‘worked closely’ with Dr Glyn Youdan - Thomas’s last surviving relative.
“We’re aiming to grow this competition into the biggest and most prestigious of its kind in Europe. We want to protect the investment we’ve made so far so, like any business, we’ve applied to trademark the name of the trophy.”
Hallam FC awards a Youdan Trophy to its player of the year. The Youdan Cup - kept at Bramall Lane - was lost for decades before it was rediscovered 18 years ago. Hallam bought it back for £1,600 - last year, the cup was valued on the Antiques Roadshow as being worth at least £100,000.