Sheffield football contest wins trademark ruling

Referee Keith Hackett at Hallam FC the world's oldest football ground
Referee Keith Hackett at Hallam FC the world's oldest football ground

A Sheffield football tournament has been allowed to keep its name after a legal dispute.

A bid to register a trademark for The Youdan Trophy – a contest aimed at youth teams across Europe and the USA – was opposed by Sandy-gate club Hallam FC, which claimed the name infringed its rights.

However, in a ruling made following a tribunal hearing, the Government’s Intellectual Property Office found in favour of the tournament’s organisers, former soccer referees Jock Waugh and Keith Hackett, of the website You Are The Ref.

The competition commemorated the world’s first-ever football tournament, the Football Challenge Cup, which pre-dates the FA Cup and was played once in 1867. The winner’s trophy – the Youdan Cup – was presented to Hallam by Thomas Youdan Esq.

Mr Hackett said he felt ‘relieved’, adding: “Common sense has prevailed. We have invested a huge amount of time, effort and money in the Youdan Trophy and have enjoyed high-profile backing from Sheffield Council, Sheffield University, Sheffield Hallam University as well as securing involvement from some of the biggest clubs in the world. The Youdan Trophy will now grow into the most prestigious of its kind in Europe and next year we will have a satellite tournament in the USA and the following year launch one in Asia.”

But a spokesman for the IPO said the case was ‘still not absolutely over’.

“The opponent has failed to prevent Mr Hackett’s application moving forward, subject to appeal,” he said.

Hallam FC awards a Youdan Trophy to its player of the year. The Youdan Cup was lost for decades before it was rediscovered nearly 20 years ago. Hallam bought it back for £1,600 – in 2014, the cup was valued on the Antiques Roadshow as being worth at least £100,000.

Hallam FC has until November 16 to lodge a challenge.

The club was contacted for comment.