Global football tournament to go ahead in Sheffield, despite insolvency ruling

A global football competition based in Sheffield will go ahead this year, despite running into financial difficulties.

By Robert Cumber
Friday, 1st March 2019, 4:08 pm
Updated Friday, 1st March 2019, 4:12 pm
Seattle Sounders celebrate winning the U16 Youdan Trophy in 2016
Seattle Sounders celebrate winning the U16 Youdan Trophy in 2016

The Youdan Trophy was inspired by the game's first knock-out cup, staged in the city more than 150 years ago, and has been running since 2015.

The youth tournament has been contested by professional clubs from across the world, including mainland Europe, Asia and North America, since being set up to give junior players a taste of competing in a tournament atmosphere away from home.

Seattle Sounders celebrate winning the U16 Youdan Trophy in 2016

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Its organisers were locked in a dispute over naming rights with Hallam FC, which was awarded the Youdan Cup trophy after winning the Football Challenge Cup in 1867 - the only year it was held.

They were allowed to keep the name after the Government’s Intellectual Property Office last year rejected an appeal by the club, which had already lost the initial ruling.

Youdan Trophy Limited has since been wound up under the Insolvency Act, following a petition by the law firm CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang, to which it owed money.

Its last accounts, filed in March 2018, showed that the company had owed creditors more than £175,000 in total at the end of June the previous year.

The winding-up order for the company, which was created in November 2014 by director Jock Waugh, is dated December 19, 2018.

Another company called Youdan Trophy (Tournament) Limited applied in November last year to be struck off, though this is referred to in files lodged with Companies House as a ‘dormant company’.

Former Premier League Keith Hackett was a director of that company between February 2017 and January last year, when he resigned.

The registered address of that company is Acorn Business Park in Woodseats, the same as that given on the Youdan Trophy website.

But Jock Waugh, the competition's founder, said this year's tournaments would go ahead ‘as planned’ and were ‘unaffected’ by the winding-up or striking-off.

He said he was currently unable to provide a statement on Youdan Trophy Limited as it was ‘subject to a process’, but he claimed the other company had been brought to an end as it 'served no further use’.

Eight teams competed for the Youdan Trophy when it was first held in 2015 and by 2017 there were 40 taking part, though that number dropped to 17 last year.

Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday have both entered teams in every year the tournament has been staged to date, and the first final was held at Bramall Lane.

Registration is still open for this year’s invitational event, with the under-14 and under-16 tournaments scheduled to take place in August at Sheffield Hallam University Sports Park.

Packages are on offer, with three nights accommodation in a three-star hotel starting at £269 per person.

A similar tournament is planned in the US this October, and organisers are also staging a number of ‘development tournaments’ for grassroots clubs this year, along with primary schools tournaments.